Millions face daily struggle with debt

Posted on 27/11/2013 by

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Struggling with debt? Seek advice!

Recovery, what recovery? A new study compiled by the Money Advice Service highlights how 8.8 million people in the UK live with serious debt problems, but only one in five of this group is currently accessing advice to help with it.

The report, ‘Indebted Lives: The Complexities of Life in Debt’, brings insights from a survey of over 5,000 UK adults, and provides a much clearer picture of the lives of those struggling with debt.

It reveals that over four million people have been struggling to pay their bills for more than a year and admit their debt prevents them buying the basics – with families affected even more. The report sets out eight distinct groups of people who are in serious debt – families account for half.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of people who are struggling with debt said it has a negative impact on their life and three out of four admitted they are unhappy. But repaying debts is very important to four in five of the 8.8 million who said they would like to pay off their debt as soon as possible.

The Service is concerned to find only one in six of all adults experiencing debt difficulties is currently seeking advice to help them deal with their debt, and over two in five said they don’t feel able to talk to their creditors about their debt problem. Furthermore, one in five of over-indebted people does not actually recognise they are in debt.

“Millions of people could escape their spiral of debt by accessing free advice. We know it transforms lives and the sooner people access it the better – to take steps to improve their life for good,” said Caroline Rookes, CEO of the Money Advice Service.

However, this study presents us with a fundamental challenge: the majority of people with debt difficulties do not seek advice. This is the first time we’ve had such a detailed understanding of the complexity of their lives.”

She added,So now, armed with greater insights, we will work with advice agencies, creditors, and public bodies to help as many people as possible access free, high-quality, debt advice.”

Free and confidential advice is available locally at

Granton Information Centre (telephone 552 0458)

and Pilton CAB at Drylaw Shopping Centre (332 9434) 

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