Big rise in number of people from MK seeking help for debt problems

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There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people in Milton Keynes seeking help for debt problems, according to new figures from a national charity.

Last year, 1,226 Milton Keynes residents contacted the StepChange debt charity helpline, up from 937 in 2012 – an increase of 31 per cent.

The figures show people contacting the charity from Milton Keynes are, on average, £16 short of covering their essential household bills each month.

Last year, people from Milton Keynes who contacted the charity’s helpline owed an average of £13,898 in unsecured debt. That compares to a national average of £13,423.

The debts concerned cover everything from credit cards to utility bills, but the biggest increase has come from ‘payday loan’ arrears.

StepChange says 22 per cent of its clients had payday loans in 2013, up from just two per cent in 2009.

Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange, said: “Debt can have a devastating effect on people’s lives in the form of mental health issues and family breakdown.

“We need people to take early action to prevent some of the worst effects and get back on their financial feet much sooner.”