DEBT is not a new phenomenon in Barrow but the solution remains as elusive as ever.

New figures show that around 500 people owe £3.4 million which is roughly £6,000 per person on average.

Crucially this is 'priority debt' - rather than consumer debt.

Older generations will recall their own money worries and the adage 'never spend more than you earn'.

But we live in a very different society now - blinded by rampant consumerism from dawn till dusk.

Pay has stagnated, living costs have gone up, zero hours contracts are in vogue and companies employ far fewer people. Mass employment has been largely discarded in the thirst for ever larger profits and artificial intelligence is on the way.

Subsequently, modern day work and life can be a slog, and the temptation to spend surrounds us.

Multiple sources of credit can easily be obtained at the click of a button for the 'must have' cars, clothes, holidays, homes, phones, furniture, toys and lifestyles.

These are cleverly marketed at us more consistently and more repetitively than ever - just ask any child growing up with a mobile phone.

These temptations are nigh on impossible to resist in a country which values materialism ahead of thrift.

That is a lesson that is going to take some time for people to 'unlearn'.