Debt worries worse than ever

Posted by Ben Tumilty in Dealing with Debt on 28 October 2016 - Ben is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

Debt charity StepChange has released figures showing that the number of consumers contacting them about debt problems has hit a record high in the first half of the year. Over 300,000 sought advice from the charity between January and June of this year – StepChange says it has never had such high numbers.

Those seeking advice in the first 6 months of the year were doing so about a total of £2.4bn – an average of £13,826 per person. The release shows that unsecured credit such as credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans were the most common source of debt problems.

Areas of particular concern are that 29% of those in touch with the charity could not afford to pay their essential bills as well as their monthly credit repayments. Additionally, 59% of their clients are under 40 – with a significant increase in the number of under-25s with debt concerns. Almost a fifth of callers are part-timer workers and 3 in 4 are renters.

StepChange’s Mike O’Connor commented on the findings, “If we are to help people and their families get back on their feet and contribute to a growing economy, the Government needs to take the issue of personal debt seriously.

“The Government has said that it will review proposals that would see people seeking debt advice given ‘breathing space’ – time during which interest and charges would be frozen and enforcement action halted whilst people try to get back on their feet.”

O’Connor says that the figures show a significant increase in the number of people seeking help – and that the figure for those who actually need hep may be even higher. He says that the figures “paint a worrying picture of the reality of problem debt across the UK.”

If you are struggling financially and are not sure where to turn, you can seek advice from organisations such as StepChange or Citizen’s Advice – we would certainly recommend doing so, as they offer free impartial advice on your finances and would be able to point you in the right direction for your situation.

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