Croydon: the debt-worry capital of the UK

London suburb tops list of places where people are seeking financial help

Croydon has been named as the area of Britain where people are most worried about their mounting debts.

Postcode analysis by debt management firm PayPlan of the locations of the 40,000 people seeking urgent help with their debts over the past year identified the south London suburb as the debt-worry hotspot.

But the firm said high numbers of people also contacted it from the likes of Coventry and Northampton. The average debt of those who contacted the company from York stands at £145,464, the highest figure in the country. The average debt level of  people is £83,465.

Jason Eaves, PayPlan director, said: “Right now we are being told that the economy is ‘out of intensive care’ but there are still a few years ahead where people will continue to struggle financially. Currently there are 2.5 million unemployed and many others who have had to take jobs that pay less than their previous roles.

“Many families have seen their budgets squeezed. Some parts of the country are in recovery while other parts are still in decline; but even in more affluent areas if wage increases have not matched the rising cost of living then debt is still a problem.”

Redhill in Surrey, for instance, is part of London’s commuter belt, yet it is where the fifth highest number of people who have sought debt help in the past 12 months reside. Grantham in Lincolnshire – the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher – is seventh on the list.

High earners are not immune to ending up in a spiral of debt, warned Mr Eaves. “Many people are struggling to make ends meet, so if mortgage rates rise and gas and electricity prices increase it will push many more people into problem debt.”

A few years ago people who turned to debt management were on low incomes and living in rented accommodation. Now they include everyone from homeowners with debt levels of around £200,000 to young families and retired people.

Croydon public sector worker Ed Swain is a typical case. Despite holding down a full-time demanding job, he fell into debt six years ago after being tempted by credit offers from banks and credit cards. “It seemed to be the normal thing in society to use bank loans and credit cards on  holidays, cars, weekend breaks and other luxury items, so that was what I did,” he said.

“In your mind when you’re spending it seems easy to think ‘I can pay that back monthly’. However there came a point where I could no longer afford the monthly payments along with all the other household bills.”

With his wages frozen in the past few years, the constant rises in the cost of living took their toll on his finances. “My situation worsened as I was no longer able to maintain minimum payments and I fell into arrears,” he said. “I borrowed more money to pay off the debts and this ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ situation continued for four years, during which I had sleepless nights and my relationship with my family and loved ones broke down.”

Eventually he turned to a counselling service offered through his employer and that helped him to sort out his finances by setting up a debt management plan where his creditors agreed to accept less than he owed as long as he keeps to a regular affordable payment schedule.

Payplan has now published the national debt map on payplan.com to highlight the fact that people who are struggling with debts are not alone.

Top ten: Debt hotspots

1. Croydon (below)

2. Coventry

3. Nottingham

4. Taunton

5. Redhill

6. Nuneaton

7. Grantham

8. Northampton

9. Brighton

10. Arnold

This list is based on numbers of people contacting the company PayPlan for assistance.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teacher Required in Grays

£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee