Over a third (35%) of people in the South West believe their personal financial situation will improve over the next six months. According to research by insolvency trade body R3 and ComRes, this is significantly higher than the national average of 26%.

Furthermore, only 1% of people in the South West say they are likely to seek a ‘payday’ or other short term, high interest loan in the next 6 months; the lowest percentage across the UK. However, the rising cost of food (48%) is the main reason some in the South West struggle financially, leading up to payday.

Alan Bennett, R3 chair in the South West and partner at Ashfords LLP, said:

“It is encouraging to see such a high percentage of people in the South West who believe their financial situation will improve and even more so to see that very few are considering taking out high risk loans. However, it is clear that many still harbor concerns about their finances, not least when it come to the period leading up to payday. Having a weekly or monthly budget in place can certainly help with this, but if anyone feels they are really struggling, then we would advise that they seek out advice from a professional, sooner rather than later.

“It will be interesting to see if the next Budget, due in March, helps towards reducing the cost of living across the South West. Two years ago, we asked people in the region what action the Chancellor could take to most ease the pressure on their personal finances. The most popular answers were those related to easing the pressure of the cost of living, including a VAT cut or action on energy bills. There was little action on this at the time so it will be interesting to see if any are implemented next month.”