RESIDENTS in Bradford are paying off their loans and credit card bills faster than anyone else in the country - but the average amount owed is still nearly £5,000 above the national average.

According to figures in the UK Personal Debt Index, which is compiled every quarter by Creditfix, the average debt for people in the city stands at £25,243.76.

Although this is has dropped by 19.84 per cent compared to the previous three months, it is still £4,810.76 higher than the national average debt level of £20,433.

Terry Sweeney, CEO of Creditfix, says it’s reassuring to see that people in the area are successfully getting on top of their finances: "Over-spending on credit cards throughout Christmas might lead to a spike in average debt levels for this period, so it is reassuring to see that it doesn’t seem to be in the case in Bradford. The New Year is traditionally a time of resolutions and fresh starts, so I imagine there will be many who have acted on their debts and are now reaping the rewards.

"When you’re in serious financial trouble, it can feel like there is no way out. The eye-watering interest on payday loans and store cards, for example, gives people little hope of actually reducing the debt unless they seek professional advice. I would always encourage people to speak to an expert about the best way to get a handle on their finances – think of it as a money spring clean.”

Jane Tully, director of external affairs at the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, said:

“Although the figures show a drop in personal debt levels for people in Bradford, the overall amounts owed remain high and above the national average.

“At National Debtline we hear from thousands of people each week who are struggling to make ends meet. Often, the slightest change in circumstances, such as a small drop in income, is all it takes to push someone into financial difficulty

“I would encourage anyone struggling to meet day to day bills to exercise caution before taking on any additional borrowing. Make sure you get on top of what you owe and set a budget looking at what you have coming in every month and what you need to spend.

“If you are struggling to cope you should contact a free debt advice service such as National Debtline at as soon as possible."