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Campaigning to reduce the risk of problem debt

Our key policy campaigns and the research behind them

Problem debt is much more than a personal issue. It damages families and ruptures communities.

We work to overcome the negative impact debt has on society by:

  • Helping people in debt get back on their feet
  • Raising awareness of the reality of living with debt
  • Campaigning for policies to prevent problem debt

With the support of our partners and stakeholders, we are recognised as the most trusted provider of free debt advice and solutions in the UK.

We champion policies that reduce financial harm and deliver the best in free debt advice and debt management.

In 2024, our research shows that:

  • Debt costs society in excess of £8 billion a year
  • 9 million UK adults have taken out credit to afford essentials
  • Around 52% of those in problem debt are in full-time employment
  • 82% of those struggling say debt negatively impacts their health
  • 50% say is negatively affects their relationships
  • 64% of people seeking debt advice from StepChange are women
  • Private renters are twice as likely to be in problem debt

Election Manifesto Asks 2024

This election year, we need to see a real commitment to change for the 3.5 million people struggling with problem debt. After years of cost of living pressures, the next Government must place financial security at the heart of its agenda.

Read more about our 2024 asks here

tea cupOur campaign for 'Breathing Space'

We successfully campaigned for the government to introduce a comprehensive Breathing Space scheme in 2021.

  Read our former Chief Executive's blog about the announcement

'Breathing Space' supports people while they help with their debts from a regulated debt advice provider.

The scheme gives people up to 60 days without:

  • Contact from creditors
  • Enforcement action being taken
  • Any interest or fees added to their debts

This gives them time to get help and set up a solution.

Read our original recommendations in our Breathing Space report.

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