In Brief

Why seaside areas top the personal debt league

Contraction in coastal industries and lack of universities have hit hard

Seaside areas dominate the list of towns and cities with the most people getting into serious difficulties with debt, according to a new study.

Scarborough, on the Yorkshire coast, came second out of 347 local authorities in England and Wales for personal insolvencies, while Torbay in Devon finished third, The Guardian reports.

Other coastal areas in the top 20 included Plymouth (4th), Blackpool (6th), Weymouth and Portland in Dorset (12th), the Isle of Wight (13th),Great Yarmouth (14th), Cornwall (17th) and Hastings (19th).

The results were determined by studying each area’s insolvency rate, which includes personal bankruptcies, debt relief orders and individual voluntary arrangements.

Scarborough had 47.8 insolvencies per 10,000 adults, while Torbay had 45.7, and Plymouth had 45.2.

UHY Hacker Young, the accountancy firm which conducted the study, said the findings suggested many of the locations “are still a long way from recovering from the decades of contraction in their traditional coastal industries such as tourism, shipbuilding and fishing”.

“With a few exceptions”, it said, most of the poorer performing seaside towns lacked universities, “making them less attractive destinations for businesses looking for a highly skilled workforce”.

But the top finisher in the study was a non-coastal city: Stoke-on-Trent had the highest rate of personal insolvencies, recording just over 51 per 10,000 adults in 2018. 

A report earlier this year found that UK households have allowed their debts to credit card firms, banks and other lenders to soar by an average total of £886.

The analysis by the Trades Union Congress also found that unsecured debt across Britain has risen by almost 50% since the 2008 economic crash.

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