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StepChange responds to new Bank of England money and credit figures

29 February 2024

New money and credit figures released by the Bank of England today, show consumer credit borrowing rose to £1.9 billion in January, up from £1.3 billion in December – mainly driven by higher credit card borrowing. This comes as StepChange Debt Charity provided full debt advice to over 19,000 new clients in January, the highest monthly number of clients since prior to the pandemic.

The charity says that while the first months of a new year can always be a difficult time for household budgets, it shouldn’t be underestimated just how many households are still struggling to keep their heads above water and may be turning to credit to get by. Recent polling from the charity found that one in eight of us, around six million people, has borrowed money to make ends meet in the last 12 months.

Richard Lane, Chief Client Officer at StepChange Debt Charity, said:

“Borrowing to pay for food, energy, clothing and other life essentials has sadly becoming a reality for so many people over the past few years, and that’s among not just low but middle-income households. While some may think we’re coming out of this crisis, our recent polling found that around 22 million people expect their finances to get worse over the next twelve months.

“Using credit for essentials is simply unsustainable and it’s a driver of problem debt that we see all too often. In what will possibly be their final fiscal event before a general election, the Government must commit to further support for financially vulnerable households in the Spring Budget next week. The end of cost of living payments and the Household Support Fund (HSF), is causing real concern for those facing financial hardship. We need to see the HSF extended for at least a year, alongside support for those grappling with unmanageable energy arrears.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The Bank of England’s money and credit figures for January can be found here
  2. StepChange’s client data for January can be found here

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