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Rising numbers of people struggling with debt

Photo: ITV News

The number of people struggling to cope with debt is rising in the West Country.

Charities are increasingly being called upon to help families desperate for help.

The average amount of unsecured debt in this region is now £11,170 - which is above the national average.

Credit: ITV News

One man who has suffered from debt is Pete Moss. He has been working, yet has found the bills stacking up.

He says his wage of £14,000 a year isn't enough to live on.

He said "I'd run up quite a lot of debt, credit card debts, loans, mobile phone bills, cable bills. When all came to all, we added it all up, it came to £11,000 worth."

Pete believes the high cost of living is making us poorer.

'I have friends and relatives working on what seems like reasonable incomes but the money they have isn't covering everything that they need.'

Read more about where to turn for help if you are struggling with debt ?

Pete Moss Credit: ITV News

The Trade Union Congress insists it is part of a wider picture.

Beth Farhat, from the TUC, said "Families don't have savings put to one side and are relying more and more on credit. Where the economy is relying more and more on consumer debt, that's really worrying and actually says there's a problem in the economy where people are not being paid enough to survive but also a lack of investment.'

The government, however, insists that it's re-stimulating the economy and the effects are being reflected around the country.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said "Our economy was worth £304 billion in 2014. In the last year alone we created 187,000 jobs and investment from abroad has shot up by a quarter."

Credit: ITV News

Deacon Tracey Hume runs a weekly food bank from her church and believes the reduction of state benefits is to blame for people's increasing debt

The benefit cap is lowering the amount of payments some families can claim by £6,000 a year.

Deacon said, "Often the first thing we see is tears, because it's the first place they've felt safe to do that. We get the full story because it's the first place they've felt safe to do that. They are embarrassed because they can't provide for their family."

Click here to get help with debt from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Deacon Tracey Hume Credit: ITV News