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Northern Ireland Debt Levels Higher Than UK Average

This morning the people of Northern Ireland have awoken to further news that our own economic position is worse than that of the rest of the UK.

StepChange, a nationwide debt advice service, has in its findings provided further evidence that backs up what our team have been saying over the last twelve months. The fact remains that the current debt hangover from the boom times and the banking collapse is having a continued negative impact on people’s day to day financial lives.

It has been announced that the levels of personal debt in Northern Ireland are 20% higher than the rest of the UK and on average people owe around £18,400 on credit cards and unsecured loans. The UK average is only £15,300. It added a "particularly worrying trend" was among self-employed people who had average debts of £36,000.

There is no secret that in general banks or other main stream lenders have applied stricter lending criteria in recent times and appear only willing to lend to those who can prove they don’t actually need it. Access to finance today is difficult for SME’s and if employers cannot finance their business aspirations, the domino effect impacts everybody concerned.

Due to the increased austerity measures as SME’s and larger employers trim back on their work force hours, borrowers have attempted to fund the gap in their finances. There has been radical increased usage of high interest debts such as pay day loans and shopping catalogue companies. The result of same plunges borrowers further and further into debt. This is a very worrying development.

One thing is for sure, personal debt is spiralling out of control and borrowers trying to keep all of their creditors happy can be detrimental. As borrowers attempt to juggle their financial commitments, there can be serious consequences if priority debts go unpaid.

What’s the solution? - People need to educate themselves around ALL the options to break free from their debt prison. Becoming more financially aware will help you make informative and meaningful decisions.

No two borrower’s personal circumstances are ever truly the same – we are all unique in our thoughts and concerns. A “one fit solution” business model I see applied by some debt advisors is often not in the best interest of their client, the indebted borrower. Client interests must be put first and a bit of 1080° thinking would help obtain more amicable and sustainable solutions.

Darwin AllenComment