Isle of Wight debt crisis

By Martin Neville

Thursday, February 20, 2014

 

THE Isle of Wight has been identified as an insolvency hotspot.

Personal insolvency levels are among the worst in the South East, according to the Association of Business Recovery Professionals (R3).

The national trade body has produced an insolvency map of England and Wales, grading each constituency on a scale of one to eight based on the number of new personal insolvency cases per 10,000 adults.

The Island was rated Grade 6, with one of the higher levels, at between 36 and 41.99 cases per 10,000 adults.

James Stares, chairman of R3’s southern committee, said: "Nationally, over the last two decades, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people struggling with their debts.

"There could be a number of additional reasons why the Isle of Wight has a higher level of personal insolvencies. Unemployment has always been high on the Island.

"There are now 3,090 people out of work and claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance, that’s up on November’s figures."

However, the December figure was down on the same month the previous year.

Mr Stares said: "Business closures and job cuts will have also added to the financial pressures of those living and working on the Isle of Wight.

"The very geographical nature of the Isle of Wight could also point to why personal insolvency levels are high. Personal insolvencies are a particularly common feature in seaside towns, which are often dependent on the seasonal tourist trade."

Lee Hodgson, chief executive of the Isle of Wight Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB), said the statistics were a sign of the times.

He put the high level down to high unemployment, the growth in cash-strapped families turning to high interest payday loans and a shake up of the benefits system.

He said: "In 2013, we helped 12 clients with bankruptcy compared to just five in 2012. Already last month we dealt with two petitions for bankruptcy."

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