The average in-debt Yorkshire adult owes £6,504 (excluding mortgages and student loans), significantly higher than the £5,778 owed by in-debt British adult across the UK, according to research by R3, the insolvency trade body.
R3/ComRes’ survey of 2,000+ British adults found that the average owed by those in debt in Yorkshire is equivalent to 13 weeks’ average weekly earnings for a UK worker (£503 per week) and eight months’ average rent in England & Wales (£792 per month).
According to an earlier R3/ComRes survey in November 2014, the average debt in the UK was £245 lower, at £5,534.
The survey also found that 15% of Yorkshire adults owe £10,000 or more (compared with 11% nationally) and twice as many in the region (8%) owe £20,000 or more.
Adrian Berry, chair of R3 in Yorkshire and restructuring partner at Deloitte LLP,says: “The continued availability of cheap money and only low levels of wage growth have contributed a significant proportion of British adults building up, once more, a sizeable amount of debt in the years after the financial crisis. Falling personal insolvency rates suggest these debts are sustainable, at least for the time being.
“However, the survey also finds almost two-in-five British adults struggling from payday to payday. Debts could continue to build and become unsustainable if people don’t have extra money left over at the end of the month to repay the principal debt.”
The survey also found that a number of British adults who are at least ‘fairly worried’ about their level of debt say they are likely to get into further debt in the coming months by taking out a payday loan.
Mr Berry adds: “There has been movement towards providing people in debt with a bit more breathing space to help them deal with their debts before it’s too late. The creditors’ petition level for bankruptcy has been increased from £750 to £5,000 while the government has been considering a statutory ‘breathing space’ from creditor action for those in debt, But attention must be paid too to encouraging people to seek early advice about unsustainable debt to prevent problem debt building up in the first place.”
When the survey was conducted at the beginning of June, 37% of British adults were at least fairly worried about their current level of debt, the lowest level since research began in July 2010. Economic pessimism continues to be low, with just 14% expecting their personal finances to worsen in the next six months.
Mr Berry continues: “On the eve of the EU referendum the British public had record low levels of debt concerns and pessimism about personal finances was low. Obviously the Leave result has brought us into a period of considerable uncertainty. While there is no reason that debt levels should necessarily rise as a result, it will be very interesting to see in the next survey how people’s attitudes to their personal finances have been affected by the vote.”
In Yorkshire, for those concerned about debt, credit cards (48%) remain the primary source of worry, followed by mortgage repayments (17%) and overdrafts (15%).
Mr Berry continues: “Credit cards are consistently the leading cause of concern for those with debts. With today’s technology allowing you to pay ‘contactless’, and even through your phone, it can be easy to lose track of what you’re charging to your card. Without noticing, debts can begin to grow.”