Felixstowe: People at resort caught in spiral of growing debt

Debt problems are mounting for some people in Felixstowe.

Debt problems are mounting for some people in Felixstowe. - Credit: Archant

Problems with debt have grown more than £430,000 in the past 12 months at Felixstowe – with some people owing almost a year’s pay.

Staff at the resort’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau said the sum was on top of several million pounds of existing debt they were trying to help clients get to grips with as the recession continues to cause some people severe difficulties.

In addition to supporting 56 existing clients, money advisers dealt with 55 new clients in debt, assisting six of them to declare themselves bankrupt and 22 to successfully submit Debt Relief Order (DRO) applications to make a fresh start.

Mike Doughty, money adviser at the bureau in Orwell Road, said: “Of the new debt, over £100,000 relates to credit card debt and £144,000 relates to unsecured loans.

“When looked at collectively, our new clients for the year had an average annual income of £8,386. This is compared with an annual expenditure on essential items of £8,002.

“The surplus, or amount available for creditors, is just £384 per annum or £32 per month.

“With an average debt of £7,987, this equates to nearly a full year’s income for our clients.

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“With this level of available income, it would take over 20 years to repay the debts in full – providing interest and charges were frozen.

“This shows the value of a remedy such as a DRO to help people make a fresh start and escape the grip of unmanageable debt that many can find themselves in.”

Mr Doughty said Pay Day loans were also becoming a problem.

While the figure currently was low at £4,682, this applied to only eight clients and illustrated how such debts, which usually start low to tide someone over until wages arrive, can quickly spiral out of control.