Sharon McDougall - 27th October 2022 - 2 minutes to read
As many as one in four adults in the UK are either already in financial difficulty or at risk of falling into that situation.
That’s according to a new set of figures released by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates the financial services sector and credit card companies across the UK.
The FCA carried out in-depth research looking into people’s financial circumstances between February and July 2022, with the main discovery being that some 7.8 million Brits are now finding it a “heavy burden” to keep up with paying their bills.
That figure represents an increase of 2.5 million people compared with 2020 and the early months of the Covid pandemic.
Meanwhile, only slightly less than 32 million adults across the UK are estimated to consider paying their monthly bills “somewhat of a burden”, which represent around 60 per cent of all adults throughout the country.
Additionally, around 4.2 million people are believed to have missed a bill or a debt repayment in three of the past six months, with cost of living pressures clearly now taking their toll on huge numbers of households across the country.
From the FCA’s perspective, what it wants to see is the lending companies it regulates doing more to support and protect vulnerable customers who they should know are finding it increasingly tough to make ends meet and avoid problem debt scenarios.
The message to consumers from the regulator is that debt advice and support is available and anyone feeling overwhelmed by their financial situation should reach out for third party help if ever they need it.
“If you are facing financial difficulty, you don’t need to struggle alone,” said Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumer and competition at the FCA.
“There is free debt advice available, and we have told firms that they must work with their customers to solve any problems with payment,” he added.
In a separate study, the Office for National Statistics reported recently that almost half of all British adults now find it difficult to pay their energy bills or cover their housing costs on a monthly basis.
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