STRANRAER has been named as the bankruptcy capital of Scotland following the release of shock figures this week.
Per 10,000 residents covered by the town’s Sheriff Court, 49 were declared bankrupt in the 2009/2010 financial year compared to the region’s other listed Sheriff Court towns, Kirkcudbright and Dumfries, both with just 25 per 10,000.
Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown has expressed his alarm at the figures, blaming easily-dished out cash for enticing people into debt.
He said: “These shocking figures lay bare the scale of the crisis facing local people. Stranraer is the bankruptcy capital of Scotland and has twice the level of insolvencies of Dumfries or Kirkcudbright. It shows the alarming nature of the financial difficulties facing the west of our region in particular. Every one of these bankruptcies is a personal tragedy because it means a family struggling to pay bills and keep food on the table.
“The rate of bankruptcies is going to soar even higher because of what the Tories are doing. The Tory-led Government’s deep spending cuts and tax rises are throwing people out work and squeezing incomes. Forcing people onto unemployment benefit and making them bankrupt doesn’t pay down the deficit. The Government is abandoning towns like Stranraer and the consequence is pain and misery for local families.”
The MP also highlighted the dangers of ‘payday loan’ companies, as well as companies that charge a fee to deal with debt, saying: “Unfortunately there are companies operating locally that cruelly prey on people who fall into financial hardship by offering payday loans with ludicrous interest rates or offer to sort out debts for a fee. More often than not this just makes things worse. The Citizens Advice Service offers financial assistance free of charge and I would appeal to people to speak to them as soon as they start to have problems. The worst approach is to ignore mounting debts and although it is difficult to ask for help, the earlier people do it the easier it is to resolve it.”