North-east to face biggest debt problem?

When the government announced its cuts programme, one of the arguments against it was that certain areas of the country would be hit more than others,…

When the government announced its cuts programme, one of the arguments against it was that certain areas of the country would be hit more than others, due to their reliance on the public sector.

While this has been countered by the government’s avowed aim to increase private sector employment, the issue has been raised persistently by campaigners and has been the subject of new comment following this week’s employment figures.

Although the overall rate of joblessness fell and 143,000 people were in work in February this year than three months earlier, the north-east bucked the trend, with an increase of 11,000 out of work.

The explanation is obvious, according to regional secretary of the Trades Union Congress Kevin Rowan.

He said: ‘It is painful to see our region and its people shouldering so much of the burden for a situation not of their own making,” going on to argue that there are alternative ways of tackling the economy’s problems and developing the region’s economy.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of those arguments, those who face unemployment in the region, like those elsewhere, could benefit from individual voluntary arrangements or debt management plans to enable them to get more in control of what they owe.

However, research published this week indicates those in the north east are less prone to worrying about their debts.

A study by Moneysupermarket.com showed the average consumer starts to get concerned when the amount they owe grows as high as £9,767.

But this is subject to regional variations, with the typical consumer in the north east needing to owe £14,269 before they start worrying and £23,677 before they seek advice.

By Joe White

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