Are Sunderland residents the worst in the UK with their money?

Sarah Coles
Retro Photo Filter Effect Blackpool Tower, from the North Pier, Lancashire, England, UK
Retro Photo Filter Effect Blackpool Tower, from the North Pier, Lancashire, England, UK

Sunderland has topped the kind of list you don't want to be on - a league table of the areas where people are worst at managing their money. It came in just ahead of Kilmarnock, Blackpool and Liverpool. But are people in these areas just making a dog's breakfast of budgeting, or is there something else going on?

The list was compiled by ClearScore, the free credit ratings company. It looked at more than 2.5 million credit scores to see where those with the highest scores live - and where those with the lowest scores are.

The ten best areas for managing money
Kingston Upon Thames
Lerwick - Shetland Islands
St Albans
Hemel Hempstead

The ten worst


You could argue that one lists demonstrates areas where people are budgeting experts - and the other reveals where the financial dullards live.

However, that would be to overlook the enormous elephant in the room. The list of those with the best credit scores is overwhelmingly dominated by well-heeled areas (often in the stockbroker belt), where people are on good salaries and can easily afford to make ends meet. Others on the list have famously low costs of living, so even where incomes are not in the stratosphere, it's not too difficult to keep the wolf from the door.

Those areas that are home to the worst scores are also home to some of the poorest communities in Britain. Many are on horribly low incomes, and have borrowed out of desperation. They cannot afford to pay for the basics, let alone pay interest on borrowing on top of that - or pay back the debt - so it's no wonder their credit scores have suffered as a result.

This list isn't a reason to berate the people of Sunderland, Blackpool and Liverpool for their devil-may-care attitude and cash squandering, it's a clear demonstration that low incomes can so easily lead to unaffordable debt, which destroys credit ratings.

Ironically, once their credit rating is trashed, it leaves the most vulnerable in the hands of payday loan companies and loan sharks - further compounding an already desperate situation. Meanwhile, the comfortable folk of Kingston Upon Thames and Guildford can have their pick of 0% introductory periods on their credit cards.

But what do you think? Does this list reveal a painful inequality of access to affordable borrowing across the country - or is it the natural consequence of a society where people all live beyond our means? Let us know in the comments.