increasing numbers of people in Leeds are living on a financial knife edge, new figures reveal.
A rising number of people are struggling with debt in the city and are only just able to meet their living costs.
Leeds-based StepChange Debt Charity’s helpline was contacted by 2,973 people from the city asking for help and support last year.
The figures are a 26 per cent increase on the previous year with 2,357 residents contacting them for financial assistance.
Household budgets are increasingly stretched, with those contacting the charity from Leeds an average of £3 worse off than the previous year.
Those contacting the charity’s helpline had only £14 left to put towards their debts after covering their essential household bills each month, and owed £9,659 in unsecured debt such as credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts.
The figures are released as part of the charity’s Debt Awareness Week – Seven Days, Seven Ways campaign.
The strategy is aimed at helping people to get control of their finances and start tackling their debt problems by taking steps such as creating a comprehensive household budget and opening all correspondence from creditors.
A survey commissioned by the charity found that over 1.8 million adults in the Yorkshire region do not have a household budget.
Mike O’Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said: “More and more families in the Leeds area are falling into debt and struggling to make ends meet.
“For those living on the edge of their financial means, taking control of the situation can seem a daunting, if not impossible, prospect, but taking positive steps towards tackling debt is crucial to getting back on your feet.
“We urge those who are worried about their debt problems to seek free confidential advice as soon as possible.”
The Yorkshire Evening Post revealed last year that nearly half of people who responded to our Voice of Leeds survey had considered turning to a foodbank for support.
Hundreds of readers were also forced to turn to a payday lender in the last year just to make ends meet
Nearly 60 per cent who replied said they have not had a pay rise in the last year and over half of them said they have to be careful with their cash.
Almost 20 per cent of readers said they are either desperate or struggling with the cost of everyday living.
Council chiefs have warned that poverty is one of the most important challenges facing the city.
StepChange Debt Charity’s Seven Days, Seven Ways email programme provides a week of bite-size support and advice that could make a life-changing difference to people who are struggling with their finances.
The campaign is a free programme to help people take steps to deal with debts sooner.
The StepChange Debt Charity free phone helpline 0800 138 1111 is open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 4pm Saturday.
For more information visit www.stepchange.org.