A new research study funded by Islington Council will help
better understand and tackle the problem of debt in the borough.
Researchers from NatCen Social Research spoke to 87 residents, all of whom had recent or current debt, excluding a mortgage.
The research showed that residents whose debt had spiralled out of control lacked 'financial literacy'; over spending rather than saving and then ignoring bills and taking out high interest loans to pay back their debt, only to default on their loans and incur even more debt.
Findings from the study are being presented today (23 May) at a meeting of the Islington Debt Coalition - an alliance of statutory and voluntary sector organizations including Islington Council, Citizens Advice and Islington People's Rights.
Attendees will be discussing how to bring down the barriers to residents accessing help with their debt that were identified by the research. Residents told researchers that they didn't know about the free specialist debt support services available in the borough. Residents also spoke about their feelings of embarrassment and depression, which stopped them from seeking support.
Lead researcher, Sue Arthur said:
"Support services can really help lift people out of the financial hardship and mental distress caused by debt. It's really important that Islington's residents are made more aware of the type of services available and how to access them."
Cllr Richard Greening, executive member for finance, Islington Council said:
"Islington Council are committed to making Islington a fairer place and one of the biggest problems for our residents is financial hardship caused by debt."
"For the Islington Debt Coalition, government funding cuts are making the job of providing debt advice in the face of rising demand that much harder."
"As lead partner, Islington Council funded this research to hear directly from residents about their experiences of debt and debt advice. Islington Debt Coalition are using the findings from this report to shape our advice services to meet what residents need."
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