East Dunbartonshire households among least likely in the UK to be over-burdened by debt

Households in East Dunbartonshire are among the least likely to be over-indebted compared to the rest of the UK, according to a Government-backed body.

Research the Money Advice Service (MAS) found that one in six UK adults is living with problem debt.

It is estimated that 8.2 million UK adults, or 16.1 per cent of the population, suffer with financial worries - with younger adults, larger families and single parents particularly at risk.

Households in the West Midlands and parts of the South Wales Valleys being the most likely to be over-burdened, in contrast to those in Scotland.

Having a child raises your likelihood of debt problems by more than 50 per cent, while if you rent your property rather than own it you are twice as likely to be over-indebted, according to the findings.

Nearly one in four people in parts of South Wales were defined as over-indebted, making these the biggest problem debt hotspots.

Meanwhile, households in East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire in Scotland, together with East Dorset, are the least likely to be over-burdened with debt.

The MAS worked with information firm CACI to estimate the varying levels of over-indebtedness across the UK.

People were defined as over-indebted if they had either fallen behind with their bills in at least three of the last six months or feel that their debts are a heavy burden.

Some 16,000 adults were compared to identify the characteristics of those who were over-indebted and those who were not.

The research found having children increases the probability of debt problems by more than 50 per cent, from 13 per cent for those with no children, to 20 per cent for adults with at least one child.

The analysis indicated a link between debt levels and having three or more children. While 19 per cent of adults with one or two children were defined as over-indebted, this increased to 26 per cent among those with three or more children.

One in four single parents are living with problem debt - equating to one million single parents across the UK, the research found.

Renters are twice as likely to be over-indebted as those who own their home, at 25 per cent versus 12 per cent, the MAS said.

For those renting a home in social housing this likelihood increases to nearly one in three, at 29 per cent versus 21 per cent of those privately renting.

Young adults aged are the age group most likely to be living with a debt problem, the MAS said. Among 25 to 34-year-olds, one in four live with debt problems.

The MAS is an independent body set up by government to offer money tips.

Caroline Siarkiewicz, head of debt advice at the MAS, said: “We know that debt advice works but currently, only one in five people with financial difficulties seek advice. Today we are calling on everyone with problem debt or money worries, no matter how large or small, to access free advice as soon as possible.”

10 least over-indebted areas, according to the MAS, with the percentages of people with problem debt in these areas:

1. East Renfrewshire, Scotland, 10.0%

=2. East Dorset, South West, 10.1%

=2. East Dunbartonshire, Scotland, 10.1%

4. Elmbridge, South East, 10.2%

5. Mole Valley, South East, 10.3%

=6. South Bucks, South East, 10.6%

=6. Chiltern, South East, 10.6%

=6. Epsom and Ewell, South East, 10.6%

=9. Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 10.7%

=9. Hart, South East, 10.7%