Public Health news: Social Determinants of Health

June 2022

Social Determinants of Health - Debt

Last quarter we described what we mean by wider or social determinants as ''The conditions in which we are born, live, work and age are influential on health and wellbeing.'' Many experts agree that these determinants are more important than health care services in keeping us healthy. This quarter our focus is on debt.

The scale of the problem in South Tyneside

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) stated in March 2022 that 9 in 10 people said that their cost of living had gone up, with 23% having difficulty paying bills. 43% of people were struggling to pay their energy bill and 30% were having difficulty paying their rent or mortgage.

More locally, during Covid 19 South Tyneside saw a 53% increase in unemployment, 20,500 people furloughed and £24.5 million provided to support local businesses. Whilst there has been some Covid recovery, the cost of living continues to increase putting new pressures on finances.

Showcasing some of the great work that already exists

There is already a lot of support available for instance, last year the Welfare Support Team reported

  • Over £672K in debt write-offs for residents of the Borough.
  • Over £4.6M in financial gains for residents of the Borough i.e., welfare benefits unclaimed or won back at appeal, or in debts managed or written off.

Other organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau, Age Concern Tyneside South and Groundworks also provide help, advice and practical support.

What else is being done

With the rising cost of living, we know that more people will struggle to pay their bills. There are a number of activities due to take place including the setting up of a Poverty Truth Commission, a review of the NE Child Poverty Commission recommendations, further vouchers through the Household Support Fund and a Fuel Poverty Pilot. More information will be available in future editions.

If you are struggling and need help, please visit Money and Debt Advice.

Alternatively call:

  • Welfare Support on 0191 424 6040.
  • Citizens Advice on 0344 4994 715
  • Age Concern South Tyneside on 0191 456 6903
  • CMA Connect (Place of Welcome+) on 07555 406416