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18% of Britons are struggling with debt


A new report has revealed that just short of nine million people in the UK consider themselves to have a serious financial problem related to debt.

At the same time, the Money Advice Service (MAS) has said that very few of those in this situation are making any real effort to get professional help.

This group of about nine million people, known as the over-indebted population, is made up of a variety of different demographics. The largest demographic is families that are dependent on benefits, which accounts for 20.2%. Worried working families and stretched families combined account for 35.7%, while optimistic young workers, first time workers and struggling students together makes up 33.6%. This shows that the problem is widespread and is not confined to a small number of groups.

Of these people 83% said they would like to pay off their debts as soon as possible, but 41% said they lacked the skills and confidence to deal with their creditors, while 44% said they were unsure about the debt solutions available to them. 75% were under the age of 45.

The problem also takes on a very clear geographical trend. In terms of local authorities, there are five with an over-indebted population of over 40%. These are Kingston upon Hull (43.1%), Nottingham (41.2%), Manchester (41.1%), Knowsley (40.7%) and Liverpool (40.6%), all of which are in the North of England. In fact, of the top 10, seven are northern cities, while one is from the Midlands and two are from Northern Ireland.

Of all those questioned living with debt, 74% said they were unhappy, and 70% admitted they often feel anxious because of their debt problem.
Caroline Rookes, chief executive at the Money Advice Service, said: “Debt advice works, and the earlier people access it the better their chance of reaching good outcomes for themselves and their creditors.

“The challenge is that most over-indebted people don’t access advice”, she added.

Need advice?

If you’re in debt and are looking for advice on how to manage your situation, please contact one of our financial advisers.

All quoted data is from the Money Advice Service, and was obtained from their report, Indebted lives: the complexities of life in debt, which can be accessed here: Money Advice Service

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