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Havering’s personal debt crisis revealed by national survey’s shocking results

PUBLISHED: 13:00 26 October 2017

(Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

(Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A new study has revealed Havering’s personal debt crisis, with arrears across the borough more than 13 times the national average .

The Personal Debt Index, which is compiled after more than 60,000 people in debt are surveyed across the UK, found that in the third quarter of 2017 the average unsecured debt of individuals in RM postcodes had a quarter-on-quarter increase of 23.2pc.

The national average is just 1.67pc.

According to the survey, the average personal debt of Havering residents in the red is a staggering £16,224.

Those statistics – which only take into account debt not protected by a guarantor or asset; including bank loans, credit cards and payday loans – represent one of the worst regional swings in the past three months in the entire country.

Lesley Crisp, who has worked at Havering Citizens Advice Bureau for more than 20 years, told the Recorder she has seen an increase in the borough’s debt issues in recent years. She said: “Debt has always been a problem for people in Havering, but what is worrying now is that it’s become a much bigger problem for a wider range of people.

“One of the biggest issues in our area is privately rented housing. Not everyone can afford a big deposit for a house, so people are forced to rent, and it’s so expensive.”

Finance experts also blamed the rise in credit card and payday loan companies for the shocking figures.

“In such an unpredictable economic climate, it’s troubling to see that so many people are continuing to struggle with their personal finances,” said Pearse Flynn, executive chairman of Creditfix, the UK’s largest personal insolvency practice.

“People are having to borrow more, often just to make ends meet. The ease, availability and widespread access to credit from banks and credit card companies is only facilitating this cycle.

“With so many people relying on debt, we could be headed for troubling times if the UK economy struggles and lending is reeled in.”

Anyone struggling with debt can contact Havering Citizens Advice Bureau on 01708 763531. Drop-in sessions run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9.30am to 12.30pm.

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