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200 Brighton and Hove residents sit on debt pile of £17m
More than 200 city residents are sitting on a debt pile of £17 million.
The figures, which found 212 people had an average debt of £81,000 each, were described as the “tip of the iceberg” because they only included people who had contacted a single debt helpline.
According to Payplan, Brighton and Hove residents are among the most worried in the UK about their debts.
Meanwhile Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) said it was helping around 400 people facing eviction every year – mostly as a result of rent and mortgage arrears.
BHT solicitor Huw Owen said: “I have noticed that money is getting tighter than ever for the clients we help, leading to problems with rent and mortgage arrears as people struggle to juggle their finances.
“Because of the high costs of housing and child care in the city, even families with two parents working full time can find it difficult to cope.
“Also, in many cases, families scrape by month to month but are unable to build up savings so that they very quickly run into problems if something unexpected like an accident or illness happens.”
Cost of living
St Luke’s Debt Advice, in Brighton, said money problems were often caused by major life events such as serious illness, bereavement and redundancy.
Manager Linda Wilmott said: “Over the last 12 months the volumes have steadily increased, it’s definitely on an upward trend.
“It’s no surprise because the cost of living is so expensive in Brighton and Hove.”
Payplan director Jason Eaves said: “Many families have seen their budgets squeezed. Even in affluent areas like Brighton and Hove if wage increases have not matched the rising cost of living, then debt is still a problem.
“Many people are struggling to make ends meet, so if mortgage rates rise and gas and electricity prices increase it will push many more people into problem debt.
“The issue is to get people to seek help and not take out more debt as, over time, this only makes matters worse. Once debt is managed then people can get on with their lives.”
To contact Payplan for free advice call 0800 280 2816.
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