Number of Brits with ‘Severe Problem Debts’ Up to 3.3 Million

January 31, 2018

The number of UK consumers who can be described as having severe problem debts has reached an estimated 3.3 million.

That’s according to the debt help charity StepChange, which is reporting that the number of people throughout the country with severe problem debt increased by roughly 405,000 during the final nine months of 2017.

“Whilst the steady growth in consumer credit does not necessarily indicate a debt ticking timebomb, the number of households tipped into severe problem debt is on the rise,” said StepChange’s head of policy Peter Tutton.

“With January still the busiest period for debt advice, those already falling behind with essential bills and credit repayments need better support.”

StepChange’s figures are based on surveys by YouGov and the charity uses the term ‘severe problem debt’ to refer to people who struggle consistently to pay down their debts, who fall behind on paying essential household bills or rely on credit to get by on a month to month basis.

A total of just over 5,000 people took part in the survey that gave StepChange its figures revealing the rising numbers of severely indebted UK consumers.

In response to those findings, Mr Tutton from StepChange called on the government to do more to protect and support people who struggle with serious debt problems across the country.

“As the Treasury has committed to introducing a ‘Breathing Space’ scheme to help people manage problem debt, it’s crucial government get this right so that debt advice charities can provide people the best chance of recovery and get their lives back on track,” he said in a statement.

The government has been consulting relevant stakeholders in recent months with a view to introducing a six-week ‘breathing space’ period during which debtors would be legally protected from their creditors.

“We are working to give people who are overwhelmed by debt more time to seek advice, find a workable solution, and help get their lives back on track,” said Stephen Barclay from the Treasury when plans for a potential ‘breathing space’ policy were first announced in October 2017.

If you live anywhere in Scotland and you’re dealing with severe problem debts then Scotland Debt Solutions can help. You can contact us any time to arrange a FREE and confidential consultation.


John Baird

Insolvency Adviser

Tel: 0800 063 9250

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