HARTLEPOOL’S debt nightmare has been highlighted in a national league table of towns suffering from high levels of personal insolvencies.
The town ranks 16th in the country for towns with the worst record of people with critical levels of debt.
“Insolvency rates within young families and across some key coastal towns and locations in the North remind us there is still some way to go in terms of recovery.
Statistics from information services company Experian show 13 out of every 10,000 households in Hartlepool had an insolvency problem during the survey period which was the last three months of 2014.
Torquay topped the table with Scarborough and Penzance close behind – but Hartlepool’s problem is getting worse.
Figures show three more people per 10,000 households were in difficulties last year than at the same time a year earlier.
The study also showed hard-pressed and vulnerable young families with squeezed budgets were the worst affected.
Jonathan Westley, managing director of Experian’s Consumer Information Services UK & Ireland, said: “Insolvency rates within young families and across some key coastal towns and locations in the North remind us there is still some way to go in terms of recovery.
“Many people are still on stretched budgets further highlighting the need for credit providers to recognise circumstances unique to each individual, enabling their money to go further and help support them against debt.”
Overall, the picture is improving and the signs for 2015 are positive with personal insolvencies in Great Britain falling from 10 in every 10,000 households in 2013, to nine in every 10,000 households in 2014.
Mr Westley added: “The good news is that we’re on the right path and it’s promising that overall insolvency rates are steadily declining. The current low mortgage interest rates may well have aided the improvements we’ve seen among many groups.”
A breakdown of the statistics showed some sections of society were in bigger difficulties than others.
Families with children who have limited budgets were struggling to make ends meet, often found in areas with fewer employment options, the study showed. This group had an insolvency rate of 19 per 10,000 households.
Single people who pay modest rents for low cost homes – and who often live in a property for only a short length of time before moving on – were also struggling to make ends meet.
People on long-term rent deals, who are living in low-value flats or in small terraces on outlying estates, were also shown to be among the at-risk groups.