June 16, 2024


Delighting finance buffs

Those From Dorchester ‘Experiencing Financial Difficulties’

Despite being ranked to the contrary, residents in Dorchester are still struggling to handle their finances, an industry expert from the town has reported. According to Anne Bowen, manager for the Dorset town’s Citizens Advice branch, consumers living in the area have problems repaying the millions of pounds they owe via personal loans, credit cards, overdrafts and other forms of borrowing. She pointed out that over the course of 2006 those living in the town came to the advisory service with debts of some 5 million pounds, reports the Dorset Echo. However, with such figures not accounting for mortgages, consumers could be developing even more difficulties in managing their money. Her comments come after a recent piece of research carried out by credit reference agency Callcredit revealed that Dorchester is coping the most favourably with their debts out of some 124 towns and cities across Britain.

She told the publication: “There is a high percentage of the population that live in their own homes and a high percentage of retired people. But there are also people who don’t own their homes or live in social housing and older people in financial difficulties.”

Ms Bowen also pointed out: “Wages are low and rent is high so people might overextend themselves and when something goes wrong debt can be unmanageable.” She also reported that it is “much easier” for consumers to access loans and other types of borowing these days. However, following the recent run on Northern Rock she asserted that banks and other loan lenders are “tightening up a little bit” in terms of who they issue money to and the interest rates attached to their personal loans and various other credit forms.

In addition, the Citizens Advice manager pointed out that most people in the town develop difficulties in paying back personal loans and other demands on their spending after undergoing an unexpected change in their life circumstances, for example illness, divorce or the loss of a loved one. She asserted: “We don’t see people who are feckless, people don’t really think like that. It’s often a death or illness or something like that, debt can build up over a long time and people try and cope.” However, Ms Bowen purported that in spite of the Callcredit study, “to be poor in Dorset is to be quite poor”.

Earlier this year, Alex Hughes, the Citizens Advice district manager for the Rushmoor region, told the Aldershot News and Mail that an increasing number of consumers in the area are struggling to manage money as debt continues to have a “severe impact on many people”. Meanwhile, a study of 40 residents who visited Farnborough’s Citizens Advice office with debt problems in the 12 months leading up to August 2007 showed they owed a typical amount of £16,928 each.

Commenting on the figures, Jean Rathbone, manager for the Farnborough branch of Citizens Advice, claimed that there are “various new sources of debt”, such as cable and satellite television costs and mobile phone bills. Ms Rathbone added that such constraints could place even greater demand on consumers’ finances in months to come.

Regardless of what type of debt they are in, taking out a debt consolidation loan could be one advisable way for those people who find that they have increasing financial management problems to get themselves back into the black.