Debt Problems Becoming ‘Smaller in Scale But Trickier to Deal With’
September 5, 2018
Debt problems increasingly involve “smaller but trickier” financial headaches as far as a growing number of people across the UK are concerned.
That’s according to research into these issues by the National Debtline, which provides advice to indebted consumers and is operated by a charity group called the Money Advice Trust.
The latest figures suggest that demand for debt advice is on course to reach a five-year peak in 2018, with debtors increasingly finding it difficult or impossible to pay their everyday household bills.
As many as 189,000 people from across the UK are expected to call the National Debtline over the course of this year.
The organisation has said that trends among callers to its advisors have changed notably over the past 10 years, with fewer people worried about credit cards, overdrafts or loans, and more people asking for advice on how to deal with overdue council tax demands, rent arrears or energy bills.
“Ten years ago a typical caller to National Debtline was struggling to pay credit cards and personal loans,” explains Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust.
“Today, callers are struggling with smaller but trickier debts, usually on everyday household bills – and often caused by ‘broken budgets’, where the money coming in is simply not enough to cover their essential spending.”
Ms Elson added that she and the Money Advice Trust want to see more action taken by the government to tackle the issue of problem debt in all parts of the UK.
She particularly wants to see indebted consumers given ‘breathing space’ protections from creditors of all types so that they can be given a better chance of getting to grips with their financial difficulties.
The Money Advice Trust is also calling for the Financial Conduct Authority to extent the scope of its cap on interest rates from affecting just payday lenders to covering other forms of high cost credit as well.
“We need to change how we think about problem debt in the UK,” said Ms Elson, who added that “the government, regulators, creditors and the advice sector” all need to work together to tackle the debt problems people are now facing in contemporary Britain.
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