People in affluent parts of Yorkshire are struggling with high debts new figures reveal as experts last night warned the crisis could get far worse.
Figures for the first nine months of this year raise fears that high earning households with easy access to credit in the good times are struggling to make repayments at a time when incomes are squeezed and experts last night warned the situation could dramatically worsen if interest rates increase.
The figures from debt charity StepChange show that the average person contacting it for advice in Harrogate owed £19,359 in unsecured debts such as credit cards and loans, while in Bradford the figure was £14,625.
When the figures from StepChange are studied by postcode they highlight how debt levels are higher in more affluent areas. In the postcode covering the Denby Dale and Lepton areas of Huddersfield the unsecured average debt was £28,387, while in the less affluent Bramley area of Leeds the average unsecured debt dealt with was £12,262.
A spokesman for StepChange said: “That the more affluent areas have more debt is likely to be a result of the fact that those on higher incomes have access to greater levels of credit.”
Gary Shaw, a director with professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, based in Leeds, said: “We are one of the most indebted countries in the world in terms of levels of debt that each household has.
“People’s ability to keep their heads above water is being underpinned by low interest rates.
“I think if interest rates were normal then the level of defaults and repossessions would be enormous.”