Twenty-three percent increase in number of Northampton people contacting debt charity

Library picture
Library picture

Increasing numbers of people in the Northampton area are struggling with debt and are only just able to meet their living costs, according to new figures released today by StepChange Debt Charity.

During 2014, the charity’s helpline was contacted by 2,042 people from the Northampton postcode area, compared to 1,662 in 2013, a rise of 23 percent.

A spokesman for the charity said household budgets were increasingly stretched, with those contacting them from the Northampton area an average of £1 worse off than the previous year. On average, those contacting the charity’s helpline had only £8 left to put towards their debts after covering their essential household bills each month, and owed £11,674 in unsecured debt such as credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts, he said.

The figures are released as part of the charity’s Debt Awareness Week – 7 Days, 7 Ways campaign, which is aimed at helping people to get control of their finances and start tackling their debt problems by taking steps such as creating a comprehensive household budget and opening all correspondence from creditors.

A survey commissioned by the charity found that almost 1.5 million adults in the East Midlands region do not have a household budget.

Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said: “More and more families in the Northampton area are falling into debt and struggling to make ends meet.

“For those living on the edge of their financial means, taking control of the situation can seem a daunting, if not impossible, prospect, but taking positive steps towards tackling debt is crucial to getting back on your feet.

“We urge those who are worried about their debt problems to seek free confidential advice as soon as possible.”