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Newham is UK's debt hotspot

PUBLISHED: 14:12 20 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:17 21 January 2016

Barking and Dagenham features second a list of debt hotspots in the UK. Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Images

Barking and Dagenham features second a list of debt hotspots in the UK. Picture: Philip Toscano/PA Images

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Newham is the number one debt hotspot in the UK, according to new research.

Joint analysis by credit experts Experian and debt charity Stepchange showed residents were more likely to be recipients of debt than in any other part of the country.

Newham topped the list with the highest penetration of people with both real financial problems and the highest index of people having sought professional advice over debt over the past five years.

“Debt problems are most common in urban areas like Newham and certain groups within society are more acutely affected by problem debt,” said StepChange chief executive Mike O’Connor.

Although researchers stressed that the problems do affect individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds, those on low incomes, young people in rented accommodation and young families were the groups at greater risk of debt-related problems.

“Not surprisingly there is a higher chance of needing debt support when there is a higher proportion of people on low incomes and social benefit. It is much harder for them to balance their incomes,” said Experian spokesman Nick Jones.

The research was carried out in two separate approaches. In both cases it focused on personal loans, credit cards and store cards but did not include mortgages.

The first focused on answers given in a YouGov poll over the past five years in which respondents were asked if they had sought advice for “debt-related problems”. Many of the most at risk groups were found to be living in Newham.

The second examined data from individuals who had approached UK charity StepChange about debt problems. A sample of 750,000 people used in the study had contacted the debt charity over the past five years, with Newham making up a large proportion.

“The advice to anyone who is struggling is to get advice and get support at the earliest opportunity,” said Mr Jones.

“We know that often people don’t know where to turn and don’t know that there are options available to them to help them tackle their problems.

“Getting free and independent advice from organisations like StepChange Debt Charity can be a crucial step to helping get on top of your finances.”

Personal debt has risen above £180 billion according to the research

• Have you been affected by debt? Contact Kat Hopps on 020 8477 3789 or kat.hopps@archant.co.uk to tell us your story.

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