Mas finds more than 8m Britons struggle with debt

Mas finds more than 8m Britons struggle with debt

More than 8.3m adults in the UK are struggling under the burden of debt - a higher proportion of the population than in 2016.

Figures from the Money Advice Service has revealed 15.9 per cent of the UK population is living with a debt problem, up from 15.4 per cent in 2016. 

Sheila Wheeler, director of debt at the Money Advice Service, said: “One in six people in the UK have financial worries. 

"Debt is a complex challenge and one that needs a collaborative approach if we are to successfully address it."

Table: Over-indebtedness by region

RegionAdultsOver-Indebted %Over-Indebted Adults
North East2,115,86817.70%373,963
North West5,699,84816.90%964,373
Yorkshire and The Humber4,290,21716.90%724,995
West Midlands4,547,38416.60%756,390
East Midlands3,760,55916.20%608,956
Northern Ireland1,437,88515.80%226,516
South West4,457,70014.40%641,607
East of England4,862,10214.30%693,851
South East7,149,51213.30%950,209

The research was carried out by CACI, sourcing data from an online survey of more than 20,000 adults in the UK.

The CACI research defined 'over-indebted' individuals as those who are likely to find meeting monthly bills a "heavy burden" and/or those missing more than two bill payments within a six-month period. 

Breaking it down into regions, people living in Newham in East London are estimated to have higher levels of over-indebtedness compared to anywhere else in the UK.

Last year, the Money Advice Service (Mas) warned financial education should start as early as seven to help make people more aware of the need to save and to steer away from high levels of debt.

At the time, Andy Briscoe, chairman of Mas, told FTAdviser: "If you can teach children about managing money and instilling the right attitudes to money, then they will carry this learning for the rest of their life."

This comes a month after LV= produced research which found those aged 25-34 were the least financially resilient, thanks to low wages, high rents and student debt.

Justin Harper, head of policy for protection at LV, said: “It’s worrying that so many 25-34 year olds have no idea how they would cope in a personal financial crisis, but those who rent are suffering even more.

"It’s clear that people in ‘Generation Debt’ are at risk of finding themselves struggling to make ends meet if they lost their income."