Portsmouth area has the second highest number of people seeking debt advice

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THE Portsmouth area had the second highest number of people in the south east to approach a debt charity for advice.

The Consumer Credit Counselling Service has revealed last year 1,391 people in the PO postcode area contacted them asking for debt advice – placing them second behind Brighton (1,637).

And the organisation is predicting the situation is likely to get worse.

Spokeswoman Una Farrell, said: ‘The situation around the country is bad – it’s bad in Portsmouth and it will get worse.

‘There are several reasons in Portsmouth why there are high debt levels. More people are suffering from job loss and income shock – whether that’s a pay cut, pay freeze, being made redundant or switching from full time to part time hours.

‘It’s families that are under pressure, which could be a big factor in Portsmouth.’

The CCCS said that more than half of the people that have called their helpline have asked advice on employment issues.

The city council said it is piloting an anti-poverty scheme called Trigger Tool, which is being tested at children’s centres.

Social care boss councillor Leo Madden said: ‘We recognise that there are several deprivation and poverty sites in Portsmouth.

‘This is a low wage city in some ways and there are pockets of depravation in the area such as Leigh Park and Rowner estate. We do have problems, there is no doubt about that.

‘Trigger Tool, which is likely to be renamed Tookit, aims to identify earlier people who may have money or debt worries, or people who need help maximising their income through employment or getting the benefits they are entitled to. Depending on the outcome, the scheme could be rolled out to a wider range of front-line professionals.’

If you are concerned about debt contact the CCCS on 0800 138 1111 or visit portsmouthcab.org.uk