Seaside gloom as Weston ranks high in bankruptcy table

PUBLISHED: 13:00 14 October 2010

debt

debt

Copyright Archant Ltd

ONLY two other towns in England had more residents go bankrupt than in Weston during 2009, new figures show.

And debt advisors in the town, who dealt with nearly £20million of debt during the period, fear the situation is going to get worse as the Government targets more cuts.

The data, published by insolvency trade body R3, revealed there were 424 cases of personal insolvency in Weston in the year.

Only Mansfield and Torbay came above the town in the list, with 442 and 470 cases respectively.

The figures paint a harrowing picture of residents struggling to cope with debt in the town, already seen by the town’s Citizen Advice Bureau.

The branch dealt with 1,800 cases totalling £19,900,000 of debt during 2009, a statistic director Anne Richards fears will worsen.

She said: “We’re seeing an awful lot of people in financial problems, and I’m afraid I think the numbers are only going to worsen.

“The Government is set to make further savings announcements which are likely to leave more people in difficult situations.

“So far we’ve seen wide-scale redundancies from employers of all size – this is leaving a significant unemployment rate.

“The increase in rate means many people with high borrowing are then left in a downward spiral, and they find their growing debts very difficult to get out of.”

The independent organisation tries to see people within three weeks of asking for an appointment because of debt problems.

Mrs Richards added: “We don’t have a magic wand, but we can help people take control of debt.

“However, it is becoming an increasing challenge for us.”

The figures comes four months after it was revealed Weston, which has a working population of 62,000, has 3,093 residents claiming benefits

Weston MP John Penrose said he was dismayed by the figures, but hoped for light at the end of the tunnel.

He said: “We all know how tough the last couple of years have been in Weston and the villages.

“Lots of local businesses were forced to close and unemployment almost doubled, but these figures show just how hard it’s been for Westonians.

“The good news is that our local economy is starting to pick up and unemployment is decreasing, so these figures should be a thing of the past.

“Of course we’re not out of the woods yet which is why I’m working hard with local businesses to see what we can do to boost our economy further.”

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