Media response: StepChange report an action plan on problem debt

**8 January 2015 **

In response to the StepChange report - An Action Plan on problem debt, Caroline Siarkiewicz, Head of UK Debt Advice Programme for the Money Advice Service, which has a statutory responsibility for funding and co-ordinating debt advice, comments:

“We are pleased that StepChange has once again highlighted the huge problems which living in debt causes individuals and society, and we welcome their recommendations for tackling overindebtedness. Our own research identified that around 9m adults in the UK are overindebted yet only 17% are currently seeking advice.

“It is a key priority for the Money Advice Service to ensure that debt advice is available to the people who most need it, when they need it. We know managing debt can transform people’s lives and the sooner they access the help they need, the better. Around 88% of people who receive face-to-face debt advice from one of our partners go on to take action to improve their finances. Our debt advice locator tool ( www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/debt) is a great place to find free, high-quality, confidential help and advice services across the UK, which help hundreds of thousands of people every year online, over the phone or face-to-face.

We highlighted last year that if people saved £3 a day they would be able to cope with most of the unexpected events that all too often can tip families into problem debt and so we strongly welcome the recommendation that every family should have £1,000 available.

January to March is the busiest time for the debt advice sector and we and our partners will be working tirelessly in the weeks ahead, up and down the UK, to help people escape from the spiral of debt.”