Insolvency statistics mask worrying debt picture
7 February, 2014
Insolvencies may be down, but debt remains a chronic problem for many households, according to StepChange Debt Charity, responding to today’s figures from the Insolvency Service.
The charity is seeing more people, many of whom are struggling to pay basic, everyday household bills, such as rent, council tax and heating.
In one week alone last month the charity dealt with over £266 million worth of client debt, not including mortgage debt.
But, according to StepChange, this may only be the tip of the iceberg. Francis McGee, director of external affairs says:
“Our research* suggests that there are fifteen million adults with at least one sign of problem debt, such as borrowing to pay off other debts, relying on credit to make it through to pay day or making minimum payments on credit cards. Yet many people are seemingly underestimating the severity of the problem.
“We want to change this, hence we ran our first ever Debt Awareness Week last month in order to encourage people to recognise the signs of problem debt and to seek the help they need before their problems are compounded. In that week alone we received over 7,000 calls to our helpline and saw a record 75,000 visits to our website”.
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* Research carried out by YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4,442 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 17th – 20th December 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Figures have been grossed up, using the ONS 2012 Mid Year estimates of adults in Great Britain: 48,788,716