UK Household Debt

Nobody should fall into debt simply to put food on the table or heat their home.

UK Household Debt

Covid-19 has been the biggest shock of our generation. The past year has been stressful for all of us. 

But for people who have lost their income and their jobs, and those who were in difficulty before the pandemic hit —  the pressure is now unbearable. 

8.5 million people are now heavily in debt, for example, many are unable to keep up with their bills. 

That’s 1 in 6 adults in the UK.  

Already, the system wasn’t fair. Bad jobs, wages that weren’t keeping up with the cost of living, and the government’s lack of a proper safety net pushed many people onto the breadline, even before the pandemic disrupted our lives. 

Low wages, insecure work, welfare cuts and rip-off lending lay behind it all. Growing numbers of people simply couldn’t make ends meet, and had to borrow from rip-off, irresponsible lenders just to cover basic needs.

Covid-19 was the final straw. Millions more families have been plunged into difficulty, and forced to borrow money to make ends meet.


The government’s roadmap to recovery from this crisis won’t work if it doesn’t care for the people most impacted by debt. 

Key workers who’ve followed government guidance by shielding, parents who stayed at home to care for others, young people forced to work less or who lost their jobs altogether are all left facing a financial black hole.

To get us through the pandemic, it’s vital that the government cancels unpayable Covid-19 debts. 

The Chancellor must urgently take action to cancel household debt. Here are the steps to get there:

  • Freeze all evictions and bailiff activity against people in debt
  • Clear debts for people who are renting or have council tax debt through a government grant 
  • Change the system to make it easier for people to get out of debt and move forward from this pandemic and future crises

What you can do right now:

Read: Our joint paper with the Centre for Responsible Credit, ‘A Fresh Start After Covid‑19 – An outline strategy to tackle Britain’s household debt crisis’ (see Resources below)

See: Our community organising project, Together Against Debt (see Resources below)

Do: Sign our petition (see Resources below)

Sign the petition to #ResetTheDebt

Campaign Resources

Together Against Debt - Community Organising in the UK
Sign the petition to #ResetTheDebt
Take Action
Briefing - A Fresh Start After Covid‑19 – An outline strategy to tackle Britain’s household debt crisis
Open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (April 2020)
Action Kit: The essential debt week action kit (November 2019)
Briefing - Case for a cap on credit card costs (July 2019)
Public letter to the Economic Secretary (July 2019)
Household debt: the poverty trap (Drop It! Magazine, July 2018)
Briefing Summary – End the debt trap (June 2018)
Full Briefing – End the debt trap (June 2018)
Briefing - The case for a household debt jubilee (March 2018)