PEOPLE in Redditch have some of the worst debt problems in Great Britain, it has been revealed.
Figures released by the National Debtline showed the borough was in the top 20 per cent of constituencies needing financial help.
A total of 709 calls from residents wanting free help and advice were made to Money Advice Trust during 2013 and 2014 – one and half times above the national average and 250 calls more than neighbouring Bromsgrove.
This puts Redditch in the 130 areas across the country which have the highest demand for help.
This includes advice on credit card debt, personal loans, mortgage debts and county court judgements.
In addition, the business debtline service, received 28 calls for help.
The figures follow the recent closure of the town’s Citizens Advice Bureau which may lead to residents using Bromsgrove CAB’s services in the future.
Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said while the charity has helped many people in Redditch in the last two years, she knew there were potentially thousands more suffering in silence.
“MPs can play a crucial role in the fight against problem debt, not only by directing people who come to them for help to the free advice they need, but also through raising awareness of services such as National Debtline in the local community.”
Rebecca Blake, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Redditch, said the reality for many residents was seeing their income squeezed by the Conservative government.
“Too many are finding the day-to-day cost of living unaffordable and are having to rely on credit to make ends meet. People need easy access to good quality debt advice as it’s too easy to go down the route of pay day lenders where interest charges are sky high.”
Conservative candidate Karen Lumley said that under her government unemployment had fallen by more than 60 per cent in Redditch, there was no shortage of jobs and the price of everyday items was not rising.
“We have had a really tough few years, but I hope people can see we are coming through the other side.”
Ukip candidate Peter Jewell said if he was MP he would make sure those who needed help would get it: “The so-called recession is still with us.
“People are finding it difficult, hence the demand on food banks and we need to look at the reasons behind this.”
Anyone struggling with debt should call 0808 808 4000.