Our latest research and reports...
Unfair treatment from creditors holds back those in problem debt. Bad lending decisions, poor product design and aggressive debt collection practices can make severe debt problems more likely, more harmful and harder to deal with.
Council Tax arrears and how these are addressed are one of the fastest growing debt problems that we've seen in the past five years. This report examines the data behind Scottish clients seeking our help with their Council Tax arrears in order to get a clearer picture of the extent of the problem and how policy solutions could make a difference.
Our report looks at consumer credit trends in Britain, the use of credit as a safety net and how this can lead to personal debt problems. It also highlights strategies and solutions to address the use of unsustainable credit and the resulting financial difficulties.
Despite a steady economic recovery and low headline unemployment, 2.6 million people are in severe problem debt and 8.8 million people are in moderate financial difficulty. Income shocks are tipping millions of people into problem debt.
People will always face ups and downs that they have to adjust to, but recent trends in the jobs market, with fewer working people in traditional permanent, full-time, steady-wage jobs, mean more people experience more frequent shocks and changes as part of everyday life.
Having accessible savings helps families avoid problem debt, promotes financial inclusion and leads to wider social benefits regarding employment, healthcare, and children's life prospects, but families in the UK are facing a crisis when it comes to saving for a rainy day.
Since 2010, StepChange Debt Charity has seen a 372% rise in the number of people we've helped with Council Tax arrears. Only payday loans grew faster as a client debt across this period.
The British economy is recovering, but many families are still waiting to see their household finances return to a genuinely steady footing. Many are living on the edge, with 21 million people in Britain struggling with their bills.
Problem debt costs the UK £8.3bn through the damage it causes to family life, mental and physical health, productivity and employment prospects and costs to the welfare state, the NHS, local government and other agencies.
Despite millions of children living in families with problem debt, very little research has explored the impact it has on them. Our report, written alongside The Children's Society, lifts the lid on the devastating impact debt can have on children.
From the 8.8 million people over indebted to the £1.4 trillion personal debt we British households owe, debt has become a major media debate. Our report looks at the factors that are driving people into financial difficulty, and which groups are most likely to be living on the edge.