Regional breakdown shows household debt most widespread in North East, while nationally shoppers cut back on spending

A new analysis from Which? shows that the North East, where unemployment is the highest in the country at 10.4 per cent, also has the highest rate of household debt.

Families there owe almost 34p for every pound in gross income.  By contrast the South West, with the lowest unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent, also has the lowest debt to income ratio, with households owing 12p for every pound of income.

This correlation does not follow through all regions; Yorkshire and Humberside, with unemployment at 10 per cent, has the second lowest household debt level, at 13p owed for every pound coming in.  The East Midlands, sitting in the middle of the unemployment table at 8.3 per cent, showed household debt of 17p for every pound of income, close to the bottom of the table.

Meanwhile latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that nationally shoppers cut back on food and clothing in October.  Retail sales fell 0.8 per cent from September.  Year on year sales were up by 0.6 per cent, but this rise was less than analysts had forecast.

For more information on the ONS retail statistics, click here

For more information on the Which? Quarterly Consumer Report, go to: http://www.which.co.uk/news/2012/11/north-east-hardest-hit-by-debt-301619/

For the more on the recent unemployment statistics, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19569316