NEW ANALYSIS by Debt Justice has found that the number of households struggling under a heavy debt burden across the UK has increased by two thirds since 2017.

Based on the Financial Conduct Authority’s Financial Lives survey, they calculate that 12.8 million adults in the UK are falling behind on bills or finding their repayments a heavy burden.

A lack of suitable options to reset finances can mean people in debt are weighed down for years, forced to go without essentials and vulnerable to exploitative companies selling unsuitable fee paying ‘solutions’ such as IVAs. An IVA is an individual voluntary arrangement, a formal and legally binding agreement between an individual and their creditors to pay back their debts over a period of time.

Debt Justice says the growth of unpayable debt will weigh down households, acting as a drag on the economy for years to come unless the government recognise the severity of the household debt crisis and moves decisively to ease the burden.

Sadia, a community worker from east London said: “My health started deteriorating and I had to have a major operation. Afterwards I needed time off work to recuperate, so my pay went down even further. My debt started spiralling and eventually it reached £15,000.

“I felt the shame and stigma. I wondered whether people were going to think that I’m careless with my money. I’ve never had money troubles, so I kept it quiet for a long time. I took out credit cards and loans, I tried everything possible to pay off the debt that was building up. After sharing my story and campaigning alongside other people that have been pushed into debt, I now know that I was put in an impossible situation, and it wasn’t my fault. Many people are now being pushed into debt, I want to tell them that they are not alone, and help is out there.”

Heidi Chow, Executive Director of Debt Justice said: “The government is turning a blind eye to the colossal household debt crisis that is engulfing millions of people at breakneck speed. Instead of ignoring the problem they need to raise incomes, boost the protections for people in arrears and write off the unpayable debts to give everyone that needs it a fresh start.”

Anyone worrying about debt can get free advice and support from organisations like StepChange  or Citizens Advice.  It is never necessary to pay for these services.

Debt Justice (formerly Jubilee Debt Campaign) is a campaigning organisation working to end unjust debt and the poverty and inequality it perpetuates, in the UK and across the world.

* Source: Debt Justice