‘Downward spiral’ of unemployment blamed for Weston debt ‘crisis point’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:31 06 December 2018

Twice as many people living in Weston are in debt compared with the UK average. Picture: Thinkstock/Mark Atherton

Twice as many people living in Weston are in debt compared with the UK average. Picture: Thinkstock/Mark Atherton

Archant

Twice as many people living in Weston are in debt compared with the UK average, a new report reveals.

A ‘downward spiral’ of unemployment and declining tourism has been blamed for the shocking statistic, which places Weston fifth on the list of the country’s most indebted constituencies.

More than 384 Westonians were registered as insolvent last year – meaning they are so deep in the red they cannot afford to pay back what they owe.

Figures from the Government’s Insolvency Service show the town is competing for the title of debt capital of the UK, with a personal insolvency rate of 43.4 in every 10,000 people.

Weston also has nearly four times the amount of debt recovery orders as the rest of the UK – with 173 new cases reported this year.

Mike Smith, director of the insolvency firm Company Debt, says high levels of debt are a result of a lack of opportunity in the area.

He said: “Not only have the key coastal industries been in decline for several decades, tourism now faces furious competition from package 
deals to international destinations.

“The South West’s ability to lift up its economic status is probably hampered by the fact that, given the lack of opportunity, the entrepreneurs and businesses start to think about relocating to different parts of the country.

“Once this becomes a trend, the downward spiral is inevitable.”

This trend shows no sign of abating. In the last year, Weston’s insolvency rate rose by more than 18 per cent.

Citizens Advice North Somerset says the problem has reached ‘crisis point’, after receiving 1,500 calls related to debt in the past 12 months – 320 of which were to do with debt recovery orders.

Fiona Cope, chief officer at Citizens Advice North Somerset, is urging people to contact the bureau for help managing their debt.

She said: “If your finances are getting on top of you and you’re struggling to pay your debts it’s crucial you seek support right away.

“We can help you work out what you can afford to repay, and negotiate with your creditors on how you will pay them.

“We can also offer advice on how you might be able to make savings, such as switching to a cheaper energy deal or mobile phone provider.”

More from Weston Mercury

Yesterday, 19:58

A newly-formed choral ensemble will perform festive carols this week.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:00

A Weston-born composer provided the music for Prince Charles’s 70th birthday dinner.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

Shoppers will be able to park in Weston-super-Mare for free in the run-up to Christmas.

Read more
North Somerset Council Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 16:00

Outstanding building projects were recognised at an award ceremony at Weston Museum last week.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:38

North Somerset’s two MPs have both pledged their allegiance to Prime Minister Theresa May.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00

Pupils and teachers from Locking Preschool hosted a Christmas fair at the village hall this weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:00

The winner of this year’s Turnip Prize is a plastic dog on top of a bowl full of jelly.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:58

A decision on whether almost 50 homes will be built on an industrial estate will be made soon.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:23

Planning a wedding? The Royal Hotel’s wedding coordinator Haley Montgomery shares her top tips on winter weddings and more.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00

Excited children spent the morning making Christingles during a messy church service in Weston.

Read more
Weston-super-Mare

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 5°C

min temp: 2°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists