Families in Leeds have run up average debts of almost £10,000 on credit cards and loans, shock figures have revealed.
UK consumers remain among the most indebted in the world and figures obtained by the YEP from the Leeds-based debt charity StepChange show during 2014 the average person in touch with the organisation in the city owed £9,659 on credit cards, loans and other unsecured debts.
Across Yorkshire as a whole that figure was £11,029.
The charity wants to see people become more focused on building up savings after its research has shown 13 million people in the UK lack the funds to keep up with essential bills for just one month if their income dropped by a quarter.
A spokeswoman for StepChange said: “For many households, the rising economic tide has not translated into an increase in their day-to-day budgets, and millions are still drowning in debt as we struggle to deal with the legacy of years of stagnant wages and rising living costs.
“The next Government needs to make tackling problem debt a major priority, doing more to help people build up precautionary savings and be more resilient against debt, whilst providing better alternatives to high-cost credit such as payday loans for low-income households and ensuring better protections for those who do fall into difficulty.”
StepChange says half a million households could be prevented from falling into problem debt if they had just £1,000 in savings. The charity says it has seen a growing demand for debt advice with 577,677 people contacting it in 2014 - a rise of 56 per cent since 2012.