NEW polling has indicated that a record 6.7 million people in Britain are now in financial difficulty. Polling conducted for Debt Awareness Week indicates that 13 per cent of people have missed three or more credit or bill payments over the past six months.

The polling was commissioned by Debt Justice to coincide with the launch of the Together Against Debt People’s Manifesto, a set of policy demands developed by people most affected by the household debt crisis.

The Manifesto calls on all political parties to make a commitment to address the crisis by ensuring that everyone weighed down by unmanageable debt can have a fresh start, that they provide protection from debt collector harassment and guarantee decent incomes for all.

The polling shows that government action on debt would have strong public support across all ages, classes, regions, current debt status and amongst voters of all political parties.

  • More than eight in ten (83 per cent) agreed that the government should ensure everyone pushed into unmanageable debt can access fair debt solutions to reset their finances and rebuild their lives. In a likely election year, almost half (49 per cent) said it would make them more likely to support a political party committed to this policy.
  • 85 per cent agreed that the government should ensure free, impartial, high quality debt advice is available in every community.
  • 77 per cent agreed that the government should ensure everyone can meet essential costs, such as food, energy and housing, without being pushed into debt.
  • 69 per cent agreed that the government should ensure everyone pushed into unmanageable debt is protected from creditor and bailiff harassment.

Joe Cox, Senior Policy Officer for Debt Justice said: “The household debt crisis is becoming ever more entrenched and polling shows there is strong public support to address it. We need to see policies in party manifestos that can match the scale of the UK’s household debt emergency. As millions of people are currently weighed down by debt and under intolerable strain, it is time for some political leadership.”

Paula from Glasgow, said: “I am currently in crippling debt. I’ve been so overwhelmed by the onslaught of letters demanding unpayable amounts that I have felt completely paralysed with fear and shame. The current status quo is forcing people already in debt into more debt. We need to address this situation with immediate effect to allow people in debt to turn their situation around.”

Tracey from Lancashire, said: “I’ve been classed as disabled and I’ve no way of paying any debt back and the debt companies constantly hound you to the point where I’m scared to open mail or answer the door or even go out at all.”

* Read the Together Against Debt People’s Manifesto here.

* Source: Debt Justice