'False confidence' gives Norwich one of highest debt levels in the UK
The financial wellbeing of Norwich residents has been thrown into sharp focus after it was revealed that people living in the city have some of the highest levels of unsecured personal debt in the country.
Those in Norwich on a debt management plan owe an average of £19,685 - according to debt advice provider PayPlan.
Norwich comes in behind expected frontrunner London at £22,688, as well as Reading, Brighton and Oxford.
The figures are based on unsecure debt; money not tied to an asset such as credit cards.
Richard Ross, the director of Future50 financial advisors Chadwicks, said Norwich residents’ were particularly susceptible to large amounts of debt due to false confidence.
“Norwich has no industrial base, the city’s economy is founded on the services sector,” he said. “People in that type of employment probably feel they have more security of income and are therefore more confident they can safely take on higher levels of debt.”
Across Norfolk the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (NCAB) has seen 1,824 clients about debt from April to October, reporting multiple debt issues which totalled to 10,924.
Mr Ross added: “While on the surface Norwich appears to be a prosperous city we should remember that a large proportion of our citizens are struggling; it is shameful that some 30% of our city’s children are growing up in poverty. The answer could in part be the obvious one – people are supplementing their income because salaries have not kept pace with inflation.”
The evidence supports this theory, with NCAB advisors reporing increasing numbers of people struggling to pay the basic bills of rent, council tax, food, fuel and clothing.
Chief executive of NCAB Jon Cheyette, said: “Very often any unsecured debts are historic; old credit cards and loans that people took out a while ago but are not repaying or paying token amounts. As people are struggling with the basics, they may be using credit cards and catalogues for food and day to day living, possibly even rent payments.
“These will be high interest cards as very often this is the only form of credit open to people without any assets.”