FAMILIES in Harwich and north Essex are struggling with rising levels of debt.

The report shows families are taking on credit cards as the only way to make ends meet.

It says one-third of all families are borrowing money to pay for essentials for their children.

Manningtree has also had to set up a foodbank to help struggling residents in the area.

Last year, more than 30 families in Lawford, Manningtree and Mistley were recognised as needing help during the Winter Warmers and Community Builder program.

Carlo Guglielmi, district councillor for Mistley and Manningtree, said: “The figures are quite shocking in this day and age.

“Tendring Council is doing really sterling work to put people in touch with those who can help.

“We do recognise there is a problem in our area, as well as other areas in the district.

“We can put people in touch with financial advisers, the CAB and other professionals. I would urge people to contact our officers if they need help.

“It is a very, very hard situation that none of us want to admit to, but as soon as people accept they have a problem , for whatever reason – if they have lost their job or interest rates – the sooner they can get help.”