Media Matters

Debt fears as Southern England hit hardest by the recession

News   •   Sep 02, 2010 10:19 BST

Although still better off overall, people living in the south of the UK have been hit the hardest by the economic downturn, says independent market analyst Datamonitor.

The south, and London in particular, has witnessed a severe reversal of fortune during the recession with its affluent population decreasing by nearly half a million, according to the Datamonitor report published in August.

And to make matters worse, latest figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) predict the coalition Government’s first budget will hit poorest families the hardest with the likelihood they could lose over 5 per cent of their income, implicating future debt problems (see graph illustration).

“The future months are going to be difficult for specific pockets and sectors of the UK population,” warns John Fairhurst, managing director for national debt solution provider Payplan.

“The population in the southern half of the country, particularly families with young children, have been hit hardest by the recession and it could now be a difficult time ahead for them along with other poorer sectors of the UK.

“And while credit card statements still carry the excesses of the summer holidays, Christmas is fast approaching and coupled with the prospect of expensive winter fuel bills, people could find themselves facing even bigger financial worries.”

The advice to anyone in this predicament or with a debt problem is to get help sooner rather than later – while there’s time to resolve matters.

“If you’ve been made redundant, if your income has been cut, if you’re struggling to keep up with credit repayments and money issues seem to be getting out of control, seeking debt advice doesn’t mean you’ve failed,” says Mr Fairhurst. “It’s probably the best step you can take.

“The number of customers who say ‘we wish we’d come to you earlier’ is staggering. And while the practical assistance of helping manage their finances is key, it’s the peace of mind this then brings, which really makes a difference for them. We can’t emphasise enough how debt can drag you down and when families and children are involved, it can be so much worse.”

A debt advice specialist such as Payplan will be able to provide free and impartial advice to people with debt problems. Helpful information can also be found by contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau or the National Debtline.
Contact details are:
Payplan: - 0800 280 2816
CAB: - to find your local CAB branch.
National Debtline: - 0808 808 4000

Note to editors:

* Payplan was established in 1993 and is one of the UK’s leading providers of free debt solutions. Its award-winning service helps over 100,000 people in financial difficulties every year. With no fees to pay, it is a first choice for people wanting help with budgeting, loans and credit card bills, repossession and mortgage arrears.

* More information on the Datamonitor report can be found at:

* IFS graph depicts: The effect of tax and benefit reforms announced in the June 2010