More families are falling into the debt trap


RECESSION-HIT Wigan families are having a greater struggle with rising debts than most other folk, new research suggests.

Hundreds of borough householders have contacted the StepChange debt charity helpline during the first six months of the year.

Some callers have recorded being left with just £27 each month after paying for their essential living costs, charity officers revealed today.

And on average, families from the borough seeking out StepChance for advice owed £14,602 compared to the national average of £14,092.

StepChange’s Frances Walker said: “A combination of stagnating incomes and spiralling living costs has tipped many households over the edge into unmanageable debt.

“Too often those in financial difficulty wait almost a year before seeking advice and in that time their position has deteriorated.

“It is crucial that anyone who finds themselves in this position should seek advice and support at the earliest opportunity.”

The results follow a week after Wigan MP Lisa Nandy said the Government is not doing enough to help families.

A study by the Child Poverty Action Group showed the cost of bringing up a child has now risen to £148,000 while almost 20 per cent of the borough’s children grow up in poverty.

Ms Nandy said: “This news won’t come as a surprise to families across Wigan struggling with high fuel bills, rising food prices and extra costs like school uniforms.

“They’ve also seen the help they get from Government cuts over the last three years. As a result nearly half of children across Wigan and most of Greater Manchester are growing up in poverty.

“Instead of giving tax breaks to millionaires, the Government should be prioritising help for families who are struggling now, by boosting tax credits and helping with childcare costs.”

StepChange provides free and confidential debt advice on its helpline 0800 138 1111.