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Nearly half of the North West population (48%) believes debt and financial pressures contributed to the recent riots and looting, according to a poll commissioned by R3, the insolvency trade body. The vast majority of people – 95% – blame easy access to credit over the past few years for a sense of entitlement to the latest goods.

The results show that 29% of people believe it is harder to obey the law when personal finances are unstable. But 95% believe that a person’s financial situation, including their level of debt, cannot be used as an excuse to break the law.

Younger people are much more likely to agree that debt and financial pressures contributed to the riots, and that it is harder to obey the law when finances are unstable than those aged 45 and over.
Jeremy Oddie, North West regional chair of R3 and head of recoveries at Mitchell Charlesworth, said: “We have seen an explosion in personal debt over the past few years. With the easy availability of credit, people have been living beyond their means. Now household budgets are being squeezed by inflation and money is in short supply.
“Sadly the damage caused by the riots will create further financial pressures, particularly on the retail sector. The businesses affected will take heart from the public’s condemnation of the riots and creditors are likely to be supportive during this difficult period.”