MOTHERWELL has one of the worst levels of debt in the UK according to insolvency experts Experian.
Experian has published a new list of ‘hotspots’ with Motherwell placing 10th having had 16 personal insolvencies per 10,000 households in 2012, a rise of 37 per cent from 11 in 2011.
In response Motherwell and Wishaw Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) is offering to help local people take control of their debts so the town is not on the list next year.
CAB general manager Audrey Cuthbertson said: “This is not a list that Motherwell would want to be a part of, but sadly these figures don’t come as a huge surprise to us here at the CAB.
“Debt is one of the most common issues brought to us by local people and last year our service dealt with 442 new cases. The average debt amongst our clients is £11,840 and for many bankruptcy is the only option.
“Debt is a terrible problem for people to get into, because it spirals out of control so fast, and it affects so many areas of your life.”
In the past credit cards were the main type of debt, but there has been a massive rise in payday loans and Ms Cuthbertson urged people to explore other options.
She said: “Payday loans are becoming more common and can seem very appealing with fun adverts on TV offering what looks like an easy solution to your money worries.
“But payday loans are usually charged at huge rates of interest, and they can really get you into unmanageable debt very quickly.
“There are always other options available so you need to think very hard, and get advice, before taking out a payday loan, or any sort of credit.”
CAB wants to use the Experian list as a ‘wake-up’ call for local people about debt.
Ms Cuthbertson said: “People who are already in debt should come to see us so we can help you take control of your finances. You might think your situation is hopeless, but there are always things you can do.
“If you are struggling to make ends meet, there’s no shame in that, many people are at the moment. But don’t fall into the trap of taking out high-interest loans, at least not without getting advice first.
“Here at CAB we’re waiting to give you that advice, all you need to do is get in touch with us.”
CAB’s advice is completely free, impartial and confidential, for more information call 01698 251981 or 259389.