One in six people in the UK burdened with financial difficulties

Tuesday 19th September: Today, the Money Advice Service announces new 2017 over-indebtedness figures for the UK.

  • 8.3 million adults in the UK are living with problem debt
  • The lowest proportion of over-indebted residents live in the South East 13.3 per cent and East of England 14.3 per cent
  • Newham, London revealed as UKs most over-indebted local authority area, 22.7 per cent

This year’s report by the Money Advice Service and CACI reveals that 8.3 million (15.9%) people in the UK are living with a debt problem – the figures show a moderate increase from figures released in 2016 (15.4%).

People living in Newham in East London are estimated to have higher levels of over-indebtedness compared to anywhere else in the UK. The report reveals a picture of over-indebted individuals who are defined as those who are likely to find meeting monthly bills a “heavy burden” and/or those missing more than three bill payments within a six-month period.

Tower Hamlets, London (22.7%) and Sandwell, West Midlands (22.1%) are next in line to Newham, while those in East Dorset (9.7%), Mole Valley, Surrey (9.9%) and Chiltern, Buckinghamshire (9.9%) are reported to have the lowest proportion of over-indebted residents in the UK. (Tables 1 & 4). The top two over-indebted regions in the UK are the North East (17.7%) and Wales (17.7%), followed closely by London (17.2%) and the North West (16.9%). (Table 2).

Sheila Wheeler, Director of Debt at the Money Advice Service said: “This research tells us that one in six people in the UK have financial worries, a figure that stands at over 8.3 million. Debt is a complex challenge and one that needs a collaborative approach if we are to successfully address it.

“We gather this insight to understand where the greatest areas of need are to help us ensure we commission debt advice as effectively as possible. To support this, a new strategic approach to debt advice commissioning is underway, in addition to a major review of debt advice funding independently led by Peter Wyman. Over time, and with the support of our partners*, we hope to help more of the 8.3 million people who are struggling.”

ENDS