Following the news last week that one in six UK consumers are over-indebted, the latest statistical research released from StepChange Debt Charity has shown that many are struggling to meet household bills.
The Statistics Mid-Year Book which examines the latest trends from the charity?s client data, highlights how increasing numbers of the under-40s, lone parents and people in rented accommodation are seeking the charity?s help.
2016 saw the first increase in average debt of the charity’s clients since the global financial crash, and that has continued for the first half of 2017.
Average client debt rose from ?14,251 in 2016 to ?14,367 in the first half of this year, and more significantly, the proportion of the charity?s clients who are struggling to cover their essential household bills – e.g. rent/mortgage, council tax, and utility bills – has exceeded 40 per cent for the first time.
Chief Executive of StepChange Debt Charity, Mike O?Connor, said: ‘Demand for debt advice is at record levels. The people we help are increasingly struggling just to meet their essential household bills and debt levels are now once again on the rise after an eight-year decline. Personal debt must now become a priority for Government.
?Nearly 9 million people in the UK are using credit just to cover their everyday living expenses. Many are in irregular or insecure work, those who have borne the brunt of cuts to welfare, or those who are particularly vulnerable. In a time when households increasingly lack financial resilience, it takes very little to push someone from position of just about managing into long-term financial difficulty.’
He called on the government to help, saying: ‘People need better support to manage their debt problems. The Government has committed to the creation of a ?breathing space? scheme to provide better protections for those people struggling with debt problems. This is a policy with cross-party support that can make a significant difference to the lives of people struggling with debt, and we urge the Government to act now.’