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Figures reveal fall in personal debt

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THE amount of money owed by Islanders facing court judgments for personal debt has dropped during the last year, according to figures released by a charity.

Malcolm Ferey

While the number of debt judgments was slightly higher during the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same time last year, the average level of debt, excluding two exceptionally large cases, fell to £1,490, which was 55 per cent lower than 2017, according to the Registry Trust.

The figures show that the total value of debt judgments was £2.7 million, but that two very large cases accounted for £1.9 million of that figure.

Excluding that amount the total debt figure for the period was £806,001.

Malcolm Ferey, chief executive of Jersey Citizens Advice, said the figures were in line with statistics compiled by his organisation.

He added that Citizens Advice were now dealing with around the same number of debt cases and overall debt as before the global financial crisis in 2008.

‘In 2008 we had around 121 cases for £2.6 million of debt and in 2017 we had 117 cases for £2.2 million of debt,’ he said.

‘Our peak was in 2012 when we had 228 cases for £5 million. Since then the figures have essentially gradually came down.’

Mr Ferey said that the improvement was due to Islanders learning to manage their debt better and because opportunities for work have grown, especially in part-time and zero-hours work, known as the ‘gig’ economy.

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‘There are more opportunities to work these days as the economy seems to be improving and a lot of it is in the gig economy,’ he said.

‘There are a lot of people who have hobbies or interests which they realise that they use to make an extra bit of money. Or they can simply ask if they can do can do extra hours at work – often they can be surprised when they make inquiries.

‘We seem to be in a place where people have more options these days.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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