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What our clients' stories tell us about problem debt in the UK

Personal debt statistics and trends

Our Statistics Yearbooks draw on our client data to highlight the developing debt trends we're seeing across the UK.

We make sure the voice of our clients is heard, reporting household and personal debt trends from across the UK.

The latest personal debt stats and trends

 London in the Red 2017

September 2018
Our London in the Red report shows that Londoners are more at risk of problem debt than the UK average, regardless of where they live in the capital and relative borough deprivation levels. We estimate over half a million Londoners are in problem debt.


 Scotland in the Red 2017

May 2018
Our Scotland in the Red report highlights the issues and key statistics relating to debt in Scotland, gaining insight into the financial difficulties faced by our clients north of the border. Nearly 20,000 people in Scotland contacted us last year, an increase of 47% since 2013.


 2017 UK personal debt and statistics Yearbook

March 2018
Our Statistics Yearbook takes an in-depth look at more than 600,000 people struggling with problem debt. From January to December 2017, demand for debt advice was at its highest ever. 620,000 people contacted StepChange for help with their debts. That’s one new person every 51 seconds.


 2017 UK personal debt and statistics Mid-Yearbook

September 2017
Our Statistics Mid-Yearbook explores the UK's latest personal and household debt trends in the first half of 2017. There was record demand for debt advice from StepChange Debt Charity from January to June 2017. 326,639 people contacted us for help and support with their problem debt: one person every 48 seconds.


 Scotland in the Red 2016

April 2017
There was record demand for debt advice from StepChange Debt Charity in 2016 in Scotland. We advised over 1,400 clients per month in 2016. Using this client data, Scotland in the Red highlights the issues and key statistics relating to debt in Scotland.


 2016 UK personal debt and statistics Yearbook

March 2017
There was record demand for debt advice from StepChange Debt Charity in 2016. 599,026 people contacted us for help during the year, the equivalent of one person every 53 seconds. In 2016 there were 3.3 million visits to the charity’s website, an increase of 100% since 2011.


 2016 UK personal debt and statistics Mid-Yearbook

September 2016
In the first half of 2016, 28% of our clients have asked friends and family for loans which total £200m. This compares to 20% of clients just 2 years ago. The average debt to friends and family is now over £4,000.


 London in the Red

August 2016
In 2015, nearly 1 in 5 clients we helped lived in London, making it the debt capital of Britain. With the knock-on effect of this costing the city £1.4bn a year, our London in the Red report highlights the issues of problem debt in London, with insight into the financial difficulties faced by those in the capital.


 2015 UK personal debt statistics

March 2016
In 2015, those who contacted us in financial difficulty were more likely to work part-time and live in rented accommodation. We also advised more families struggling with essential household bills.


 Scotland in the Red

March 2016
This report looks at the changing nature of debt problems we are seeing across our clients in Scotland. By analysing our extensive data, based on over 6,758 telephone debt advice sessions in 2015, we can see some of the key issues that are affecting people with problem debt in Scotland.


 2014 UK personal debt statistics

March 2015
In 2014 we saw debt problems rising fastest among single parents and the under-25s. These two groups were significantly over-represented among our client base. We also saw an increasing proportion of our clients in part-time work and rented accommodation falling behind on essential bills.


 Wales in the Red: Assessing the impact of problem debt in Wales

March 2015
Based on data collated from our clients in Wales, this report provides an assessment of what we are seeing, including debt levels, the proportion of our Welsh clients falling behind on essential bills such as rent and mortgage repayments, energy bills and Council Tax, along with overall  levels of those seeking our advice in Wales.


 2013 UK personal debt statistics

March 2014
In 2013 unemployment and reduced working hours were the main reasons people got in touch with us for debt advice. We discovered that, on average, more than 50% of clients waited more than a year between realising their debt was a problem and getting advice.


 Scotland in the Red: Assessing the impact of problem debt in Scotland

December 2014
StepChange Debt Charity provides clients in Scotland with debt advice and specific solutions under Scottish legislation. We currently receive around over a thousand requests for help from clients every month. This report looks at the changing nature of debt problems in Scotland.


Archive

Debt in Northern Ireland (pdf) - September 2014

Wales in the Red (pdf) - January 2014

Scotland in the Red (pdf) - November 2013

2012 personal debt statistics (pdf) - April 2013

2011 personal debt statistics (pdf) - March 2012

Contact our policy team

Email us for more information on our debt research and statistics across the UK.

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Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

We link to external websites where they contain relevant information for our visitors. We're not responsible for the content of these websites, or any infringement on your data rights under data protection regulations by any external website provider.

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© StepChange Debt Charity 2018