A look at the lives of 300,000 people in debt in the UK
Nearly 550,000 people contacted the StepChange Debt Charity for help in 2015. Their Statistic Yearbook 2015 gives some real insights, through simple infographics, into the personal debt of the 300,000 new clients in this year.
London continues to be the area where people are most likely to be in need of advice, followed by the North-East and North-West of England.
The average unsecured debt of their clients in 2015 was £13,900. The average number of debts per person was 5.6.
Credit cards (65%) were the most common unsecured debt followed by; overdraft (55%), personal loan (43%), catalogue (35%), payday loan (16%), store card (13%), home credit (9%).
The proportion of clients with arrears on essential household bills continues to grow. More than four in 10 now owe money on items such as mortgage, council tax, rent and utilities. This is compared to around a quarter in 2011.
More than half (57%) of those seeking debt advice in 2015 were employed. but of these, fewer people have full-time jobs, and more people have part-time jobs.
More renters need help than ever before. In 2015 over 75% of StepChange Debt Charity clients live in rented accommodation, compared to a little over 50% five years ago.
More young people are contacting StepChange; 57% of clients are under 40, and 14% are under 25.
A growing proportion of clients are single parents, now at close to 20%. This compares to just 7% of UK households.
The average income for clients has continued to fall, now annually at under £16,000 (net). The amount clients are left with at the end of the month has also fallen over the last year, now at an average of £55 per month.
The biggest cause of falling into debt is an income or employment change. One in five of the charity’s clients in 2015 fell into problem debt due to losing their job. A further 15% fell into problem debt due to a reduced or irregular income.
Download the Statistics Yearbook.
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Geoff Knott, 27/04/2016