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The social cost of problem debt in the UK

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Cutting the cost of problem debt

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.

To better understand the benefits of advice to our clients, their creditors and society as a whole, we  commissioned independent experts, Baker Tilly, to evaluate what debt advice means for individuals, their families, lenders and the state.

What are the social costs of debt?

We have used Baker Tilly's analysis to quantify the social cost of problem debt:

Social cost of debt

What can be done?

Baker Tilly’s research shows that debt advice can give substantial societal benefits, countering the social costs of problem debt. We calculate that if all 2.9 million people in problem debt had effective advice, a total of £3.1 billion could be saved.

Debt advice has an important role to play, but wider action is needed by policy-makers to shore up family finances and ensure people can get the help and protection they need to prevent debt problems from worsening.

Download details of our research

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Email us for more information on our debt research and statistics across the UK.

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Helping you become debt free...

“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.

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© StepChange Debt Charity 2019