The Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) has published the results of its Over-Indebtedness survey for 2018, which shows how personal debt levels vary between different parts of the UK. In previous years, this survey was carried out by the Money Advice Service which is one of the three organisations that merged to form MAPS.

“Over-indebted” individuals are defined as those who are likely to find meeting monthly bills a heavy burden and/or those missing more than two bill payments within a six-month period.
The headline piece of data is that 8,990,000 UK adults are over-indebted to some extent. This figure represents 17.2% (around one-sixth) of the total number of adults.

England is the only one of the four nations of the UK where the proportion of over-indebted adults is higher than the UK average. In England, 17.6% are over-indebted, while the equivalent figure for Northern Ireland is 16.2%, for Wales it is 15.5% and for Scotland it is 14.2%.

When England is broken down into regions, London is easily the most over-indebted region, with 22.5% of its adults meeting the definition of being over-indebted. The West Midlands, with 18.7%, and the East Midlands, at 18%, rank second and third on this list. The English regions with the lowest score are the South East and the East, both at 15.3%.

In Wales, the council areas ranking highest for over-indebtedness are Cardiff (17.6%), Merthyr Tydfil (17.3) and Torfaen (17.2%). The areas ranking lowest are Monmouthshire (12.1%), Vale of Glamorgan (13.6%) and Neath Port Talbot (14.7%).

The Welsh data is also broken down by parliamentary constituency. Here the biggest debt problems are in Cardiff South and Penarth (18.2%), then the next highest results are for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (17.4%) and Blaenau Gwent (16.8%). The lowest level of indebtedness is the 14% seen in Vale of Glamorgan, closely followed by Neath, Dwyfor Meirionnydd and Clwyd West.

The Scottish data is broken down by Scottish Parliament constituency. The most over-indebted constituency is Aberdeen Central, at 18.5%, while the Glasgow areas of Southside and Kelvin also score more than 18%. The constituency of Eastwood, near Glasgow, has indebtedness of just 9.8%, with the next best figures coming from Strathkelvin and Bearsden (11.2%) and Edinburgh Western (11.7%).

In the 2017 survey, 15.9% of UK adults were over-indebted, so the 17.2% figure for 2018 represents a slight increase. The over-indebtedness figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all fell between 2017 and 2018 though, while in England the figure rose by 1.8%.

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article