I note that Northern Ireland has been identified as one of the UK’s personal debt hotspots in a report by the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).
The charity said it dealt with more bankruptcy cases in NI than anywhere else in the UK. The report found many people are unable to meet their monthly outgoings and are at risk of falling into further debt. CCCS spokesperson, Una Farrell, said people did not usually ask for help until the problem was very serious. “Many people suffer from a budget deficit and as a result they sink into a bigger hole each month.
This seems accurate as my understanding is that personal bankruptcy cases here have been rocketing since late 2008. In many instances, people feel that their finances run out of control and without help they end up in despair. Losing your job is a central element in this context, and remember more than 35,000 have lost their jobs here since that time.
People need help and above all else, they need jobs. That’s why I believe that the role of politicians is to enable the wealth-creating sector to create as many productive jobs as possible. This requires some basic degree of financial literacy and that is a commodity is short supply amongst politicians. Perhaps the reason for this is that so few politicians here have actually ran a company, known the stress of employer and employee first hand.
People in debt are people who require help before things get out of hand. In a civilised society, we should be ensuring that help is afforded in terms of debt restructuring in the first instance and then finding employment prospects. It’s not complicated but it is a priority,