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Money worries are on the rise in the North West, according to new research from the insolvency and restructuring trade body R3.

The research shows that 41% of people in the region say they sometimes or often struggle to payday, up from 36% in February 2017, while 43% are worried about their current level of debt, up from 41%. The figures, the latest in R3’s long-running Personal Debt Survey in conjunction with ComRes, are based on interviews with 213 adults living in the North West.

They show that, amongst those struggling to payday, the cost of food was the most common reason, cited by 58%, followed by household energy costs (38%), fuel or transport costs (34%) , credit card repayments (33%), and spending on going out or on non-essentials (32%).

Paul Barber, the North West chair of R3 and a partner at Begbies Traynor, says: “The figures indicate signs of increasing strain on people’s personal finances, although the number struggling to payday remains well below its post-recession peak of 65% in October 2011 among adults in the North West.2

“Inflation is pushing up the cost of food and fuel, and transport costs are a key concern especially as in many cases people have to commute to get a job. Better and more cost effective transport links could open up access to employment opportunities within the Northern Powerhouse area.

“We know that consumer debt is on the rise but while debt has been fuelling the economy, it can have a devastating impact on individuals and families. Previous R3 research conducted in February 2017 shows that one in four adults (24%) in the North West says that money worries are affecting their mental health1, and we welcome Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s focus on tackling mental health issues. We would urge anyone who is struggling with debt and unable to keep up repayments to take professional advice.”

The survey reveals that 8% of North West adults are ‘zombie debtors’ who are paying off the interest charges on their credit card but not reducing the original debt, while 9% have borrowed £100 or more from friends or family in the last month, and 3% are in a debt management plan. One in four adults in the North West (24%) has no savings at all at the moment.

ComRes intereviewed 2,045 British adults online on behalf of R3 between 1 and 2 February 2017.

ComRes interviewed 2,005 British adults online on behalf of R3 between 21 and 23 October 2011.