Ballmann of Gateley comments on R3 survey about debt levels in Yorkshire

William Ballmann, chair of insolvency trade body R3 in Yorkshire and partner at Gateley, has commented on an R3 report that revealed that 50 per cent of people in Yorkshire and Humberside are worried about their level of debt, close to the national figure of 51 per cent — the highest share of people that have felt this way since September 2012.

The R3/ComRes poll of more than 2,000 British adults found that people with debt concerns were most worried about credit cards (55 per cent), followed by overdraft (20 per cent), mortgage repayments (19 per cent) and bank loans (17 per cent).

The R3 report also showed a more optimistic picture of prospects in Yorkshire and Humberside, with 30 per cent of adults here expecting their personal finances to improve over the next six months, compared with 24 per cent across the UK. Only 18 per cent of people in the region expect their personal finances to worsen, compared with 25 per cent nationally. However, almost a third of people in the region (31 per cent) say they do not have any savings at all at the moment.

Ballmann said the good news is that, with the economic recovery gaining ground, the share of British adults that feel optimistic about their personal finances is growing slightly, with Yorkshire and Humberside more upbeat than much of the country. However, he said, the bad news is that the share of British adults who are pessimistic about their personal finances is growing faster.

He continued: ‘The most optimistic are the younger age groups and professionals, perhaps encouraged by the prospects of an improving economy and falling inflation: some may feel that real wage rises are on the horizon.

‘On the other hand, we have the older age groups and unskilled workers who are decidedly gloomy about the prospects for their personal finances. Inflation may be falling, but the cost of living is still too high for those on low or fixed incomes; low interest rates may be helping businesses and young borrowers, but they aren’t helping those approaching, or in, retirement who rely on their savings to get by.’

Ballmann added: ‘Inflation may be falling, but the cost of living is still too high for some. Our Personal Debt Snapshot series regularly finds around two fifths of British adults struggling to make it from one pay day to the next, with food and energy bills topping the list of reasons for financial difficulty.

‘The Office for National Statistics attributed the latest fall in inflation to falling prices for “recreational and cultural activities”. This is little comfort for those British adults struggling to pay day.’