Debt relief worth £2.3bn given over past decade

Debt relief worth £2.3bn given over past decade

More than 254,000 debt relief orders have been issued in the past 10 years, helping more than a quarter of a million people stabilise their finances.

Since the orders were launched in April 2009, some £2.3bn of debt relief has been granted to help people who have few assets and little surplus income, The Insolvency Service has revealed.

Those needing a DRO apply through an authorised debt adviser at organisations such as Citizens Advice, StepChange and PayPlan, who submit applications to The Insolvency Service on their behalf.

Paula Hogarth, who manages StepChange’s DRO team in Birmingham, said: "While they are only suitable for a minority of people, and it is important that people go through debt advice to work out what is best for their own particular circumstances, debt relief orders have firmly taken their place as a valuable option among possible debt solutions."

A DRO normally runs for 12 months after which the debts are written off. Those accessing DROs over the past decade have had debts averaging £9,400.

Ms Hogarth said: "DROs suit people with low income, low assets and less than £20,000 of debt. They have proved their worth for over 40,000 of our clients."

In October 2015, the upper limit for qualifying debt was raised from £15,000 to £20,000, and the asset limit was raised from £300 to £1,000.

Liz Thomas, head of debt relief orders for The Insolvency Service, said: "Reaching the 10-year anniversary since the first DRO was approved is a significant milestone and we are immensely proud of the role we have played in helping a substantial number of people out of debt."

Between 2009 and 2017, while 64 per cent of DROs were granted to women, both genders experienced similar levels of average debt: £9,200 for women compared to £9,100 for men.

In the same period, 25 per cent of DROs were granted to people aged between 25 and 34. London experienced the lowest rate of DROs in every year since 2009 – three for every 10,000 adults – compared to both the North East and South West where the average rate of DROs per 10,000 adults was 7.8.