SHOCKING figures reveal Portsmouth families are being left virtually penniless as the recession continues to bite.
People have called StepChange Debt Charity to say they’ve only got £3 to spend at the end of the month after paying their bills.
And on average people from the area are in debt to the tune of £15,152, compared to the UK national average of £14,092, not including any mortgage.
Advice Portsmouth, a drop-in centre in Kingston Crescent, Buckland, Portsmouth, said it wasn’t surprised with the findings as 26 per cent of its enquiries relate to cash problems – making it the second biggest issue it deals with after benefits.
Jane Henderson, manager of Advice Portsmouth, blamed the recent cap on welfare benefits and the bedroom tax for what’s happening. She said the issue of debt wasn’t new and a lot of the problems were down to people borrowing too much.
‘Times are hard anyway,’ she said.
‘I’d say Portsmouth definitely is an area where there’s a high amount of poverty.
‘We’re one of the worst areas, without question. The figures don’t surprise me.’
Mrs Henderson said another big problem was people having their working hours slashed.
‘Quite often people come to us because they have a change in their life – whether that be an illness or a change in circumstances normally.
‘Quite often, especially in the last few years, it’s been down to a reduction in hours.
‘People may have managed to keep their jobs, but they can only do 30 hours instead of 37 now.’
Frances Walker, of StepChange Debt Charity, said: ‘A combination of stagnating incomes and spiralling living costs has tipped many households over the edge into unmanageable debt.
‘Too often those in financial difficulty wait almost a year before seeking advice and in that time their position has deteriorated. It’s crucial that anyone who finds themselves in this position should seek advice and support at the earliest opportunity.’