Women and young adults account for high proportion of debt charity’s clients

by The Technical Blogs


A relatively high proportion of women and younger adults are seeking help with their debts, according to a charity.

More than three in five (63%) new clients are women, StepChange Debt Charity said.

Clients aged between 25 and 44 are also over-represented, making up 60% of the client base, it added.

Overall, nearly one in three (32%) people getting help from StepChange Debt Charity last year were in a negative budget – where they had more money going out than coming in.

The proportion of clients receiving Universal Credit, at 37%, increased by three percentage points in 2023 compared with 2022, and StepChange said it continues to see renting as the most common housing tenure among clients (64%).

The average monthly amount available to clients for debt repayment (their surplus) fell from £69 in 2022 to £53 in 2023.

Over the past year we’ve really begun to see the impact of the cost-of-living crisis take hold

Vikki Brownridge, StepChange

Cost-of-living pressures were the most common reason for debt, cited by a quarter (25%) of people seeking help.

The average amount of household arrears among StepChange clients increased to £3,124 in 2023, up from £2,833 in 2022.

Typical unsecured (non-mortgage) debt among clients reached its highest level since 2013, standing at £14,654 in 2023, up from £13,563 in 2022.

This rise has mainly been driven by higher amounts of credit card and personal loan debts, the charity said.

In 2023 the charity provided full debt advice to 183,403 clients, which is an increase of 10% year-on-year.

Vikki Brownridge, chief executive at StepChange Debt Charity, said: “Over the past year we’ve really begun to see the impact of the cost-of-living crisis take hold. Particularly among those on low incomes, household financial insecurity is a growing threat.

“Both a rise in household arrears and unsecured debt amounts suggests those struggling are turning to credit to cover their essentials more than ever.”


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