Huttonian was alarmed to find the following story on the BBC website. It sounds a lot of money for a small province to owe and I was wondering if my modest bills had been taken into account.
"Northern Ireland '£3bn in debt'
Continued spending on credit cards has seen debt spiralPeople in Northern Ireland owe about £3bn on credit and debt, a new report by the General Consumer Council has said.
According to the study, consumers in the province are £2,300 in debt per head of population; while four in ten struggle from time to time, or all the time, to keep up with repayments.
The Taking the Credit report said the debt per person increases to £15,300 when mortgages are included.
It also found that half of the province's consumer do not know what the letters APR stand for in a credit advertisement, while 43% have know idea what interest rate they are paying on their cards.
Speaking at the report's launch in east Belfast, Alan Walker, the council's head of consumer affairs, said debt can become a never-ending cycle of misery and despair for people.
"To deal with this we firstly need more responsible lending from the credit industry and secondly need more responsible borrowing from consumers themselves," he said.
He added that such research was vital because it gave the council an understanding of which parts of the province were worst affected by debt.
"We will use the findings of the report to inform our contribution to the government's overindebtedness strategy to press for resources and efforts to be targeted where they're needed most.
"The Consumer Council recognises the very important role that the advice sector plays in dealing with the problems of credit and debt on a daily basis.
"Every day, the advice and community sector find themselves at the very sharp end of this problem.
"Many people here find themselves in serious financial difficulty.
"In addition, they suffer a real sense of having no way out.
"We hope that this research helps to ensure that adequate resources are made available to deal with this issue."
The report is the first recent quantitative research looking at Northern Ireland's experiences of credit and debt. "
Certainly you get a feeling of affluence around here. Norn Ironers are not a 'second hand bargain' society and rather despise buying used goods-yet the local car boot sale packs them in every Saturday and Sunday. However many of the goods on sale there are actually new if dramatically reduced in price-and one wonders how genuine the CDs and Videos are. Anything that is visibly used like toys can be got for about 10p and I wonder how some of the traders make money enough to cover their pitch rent. Perhaps they come for the craic.
I wonder how Norn Iron
compares with the Merse. £2300 a head sounds a lot of negative equity until you consider the size of most peoples mortgages. I am trying to think of anyone in my daughters' generation who owes only £2300. I have come up with a blank-except, actually, one of my daughters. Having sold their house on return from forrin parts she and husband now rent. Money down the drain perhaps but not to the tune of £2300 at any one time I fancy.