Debt advice peaks after ‘Blue Monday’ as charity reaches out to those with problem debt
31 January, 2013
StepChange Debt Charity has seen a steep rise in people seeking debt advice post ‘Blue Monday’, for the third consecutive year.
Traditionally the charity’s busiest week of the year, StepChange Debt Charity has seen marked changes in the number and types of debt. Most significantly the number of payday loan debts reported has increased by nearly 300 per cent since the corresponding week in 2011, while the number of catalogue debts reported has grown by 62.5 per cent.
5,863 people received debt advice from StepChange Debt Charity in the seven days from 21 January 2013, up 21.5 per cent from 2011. This exceeded the 5,470 advice sessions provided in 2012 and continues the upward trend from 4,829 in 2011.
More young people are seeking help with problem debt. The number of 18-24 years olds receiving debt advice during the week starting on Blue Monday rose to 663 in 2013, from 579 in 2012 and 226 in 2011. Conversely, fewer over-60s contacted the charity, with 384 in 2012 and 375 in 2013. Women are still more likely than males to receive debt advice from the charity.
The charity said that the six major contributory factors to problem debt are separation or divorce, reduced income, unemployment and redundancy, lack of budgeting, credit used to cover living expenses and injury or illness. Most significantly there has been an upwards shift in consumers increasing their use of credit to cover living expenses.
Supported by a TV advertising campaign that reaches out to people suffering the stress that problem debt brings, the charity predicts it will help 420,000 UK citizens by the end of the year through its debt helpline and online services. StepChange Debt Charity says that for many people 2013 has started with the burden of 2012’s debt.
Commenting on the findings, Delroy Corinaldi, external affairs director of StepChange Debt Charity, said: “We knew that there was a huge amount of untapped demand for debt advice.
“That is why we undertook the rebrand and have launched the advertising campaign. The rise in numbers of people seeking our help proves that we were right to reach out. Moving on from the rebrand, we will continue to raise our profile and ensure that anyone who is struggling with debt is aware that help is available which will cost them nothing.”
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