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This page gives a summary of our 2014 personal debt Statistics Yearbook. For more recent stats, please see our UK personal debt Statistics Yearbook 2015.
StepChange Debt Charity's Statistics Yearbook 2014 paints a thorough picture of personal and household debt trends in the UK. We highlight the main causes of problem debt, the most common types of debt, and who is most at risk of falling into debt.
2014 is the third successive year in which demand for advice from StepChange Debt Charity has increased - a record 577,677 people contacted us through telephone and online channels.
As the graphic below demonstrates, just as many people in full-time employment (30.4%) as unemployed people (30.8%) got in touch with us for debt advice. We have also seen an increasing proportion of clients who are employed part time (18.1%).
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"I was running out of money...before you know it you're filling up the car with petrol and doing the food shopping all on credit card."
Those aged 18-25 now represent 13% of StepChange Debt Charity clients, and single parents account for nearly 1 in 5 people the charity advises.
As the graphic below shows, single parent households are more likely than other households to be in arrears on essential bills. They are also more likely than other household types to have catalogue and home credit debts.
We invited Action for Children to give their view on our findings.
Around a quarter of clients in 2014 said unemployment was the reason for seeking debt advice, while a further 12.8% of clients said that a reduced income was the main contributing factor for their debt.
Almost three-quarters (71.4%) of clients now live in rented accommodation, compared to 61% in 2012. We invited Shelter to give their view on these findings.
"Statutory Sick Pay wasn't enough to live on and I didn't have enough to service my debts, let alone pay rent etc. It spiralled quite quickly...for a period it completely destroyed my life."
Since 2010, the number of clients completing an advice session with us with arrears on essential household bills has increased from 45,815 to 135,631.
As the graphic below highlights, this means nearly two in five clients (39.8%) were in arrears on priority debts during 2014.
"Going to our bank for help made us feel awkward, embarrassed and under pressure to make repayments we just couldn't afford."
Faye and Nick, West Midlands
Download the Statistics Yearbook 2014 now for the full picture.
Email our policy team
These are our latest figures based on data we've collected while helping thousands of people with their debt.
Find local data and detailed statistics in your area. 2 million data entries and counting.
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“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)
Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
*This is the average rating of our service on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.
© StepChange Debt Charity 2016