UK household debt crisis grows as 3 million people expect to be pushed into debt


New polling commissioned by the anti-poverty group Jubilee Debt Campaign has revealed that three million people fear they will be pushed into debt over the next six months. [1]

This week’s rises in National Insurance contributions as well as the increase in the energy price cap and council tax are set to push even more people into debt just to cover the basics. Almost half of adults in Britain, 25 million, are now in debt or concerned about falling into debt, as incomes stagnate and living costs rise. [2]

The polling shows the devastating impact of debt on people on low incomes, with over a third of those people heavily in debt and spending at least 40% of their monthly incomes on repayments. [3]

People of Black and minority ethnic backgrounds are almost twice as likely to be in serious debt as white people. [4]

Heidi Chow, Executive Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign, said:

“As struggling households choose between starving or freezing in the face of soaring costs, it’s scandalous though no surprise that there is a tsunami of debt on the horizon for half the adult population of Britain.  

The debt-poverty cycle is a downward spiral and the government needs to take urgent action to address this debt crisis by writing-down large amounts of problem debt and widening access to insolvency solutions.

For more information contact Jerome Phelps, Head of Advocacy on +44 (0)7906 813716


ICM Unlimited interviewed 2,010 GB adults aged 18+ online from 18-21 March 2022. Data were weighted to be representative of GB adults by age, gender, region and socio-economic characteristics including SEG. ICM Unlimited is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

All population wide estimates based on Office for National Statistics estimates of the GB 18+ population at: 51,435,642

[1] 6% of the population are not in debt now but expect to be in 6 months.

[2] 4% of people of the whole population said they are now in serious debt, 19% in moderate debt and 26% not in debt, but concerned about falling into debt, totalling 49%.

[3] Over-indebtedness is defined as spending over 25% of your monthly income on unsecured debt repayments. Our analysis shows that 34% of people polled with incomes under £21,000 are over-indebted and are paying at least 40% of their monthly income on debt repayments.

[4] Ethnically diverse Brits are more likely to be in serious debt than their white peers (7% vs. 4%).

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