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Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 16:51 UK
Northamptonshire's debt problem
Financial Difficulty

New figures released show that the average amount of unsecured debt in Northamptonshire is £15.2 billion.

Research carried out by Vincent Bond, a debt consultancy, shows that we owe more from borrowing on unsecured loans than the UK makes in a year.

The figures come as a stark warning for those living in the county of the increasing debt problems we face.

Those who do borrow rarely seek advice and appear more concerned with having access to a lump sum of cash.

As the personal and national debt spirals, the stigma of debt continues to decrease with each generation and research has revealed that young adults now consider debt just another 'fact of life'.

Steve Rees is a debt consultant for Vincent Bond. He said: "It seems more people are looking at how much we can borrow rather than how can we get out of debt as it's seen as normal."

Signs of a debt problem

When you find you have more money going out than coming in, it's a sign you could be running into debt problems.

It is important to take control of your current situation immediately so that you can change your financial future, into a positive one.

Daniel from Northampton struggled with his debt of £45,000 for many years. He said: "My debt just got out of control. I just had to stop paying everything and did an IVA."

An Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA) is a legal contract between you and your creditors. It enables you to cut your debts to an affordable level and clear them over a fixed period.

Daniel used an IVA to clear his debt, he said: "The IVA ran for over 5 years and my credit scoring was none existent, but after the 5 years I was free."

There are many ways to deal with a debt problem, but the first thing to do is contact the organisations you owe the money to. They often can come up with payment plans to accommodate your specific financial situation.

"There is a lot of advice out there for people, to help them know what their options are. If ever you feel you're struggling to pay for things like food and petrol and are using credit cards then seek help," said Steve.

If you feel you are having serious money problems and need advice visit the BBC Money website.




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