New Citizens' Advice Bureau Debt Research

28 FEB 2009

The CAB has published a new piece of research on debt which focuses on their client base. The report is entitled, "A Life in Debt." Here are the headline findings:

"In July 2008, 52 Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales surveyed 1,407 new debt clients.  We found that:

  • On average CAB debt clients owed £16,971 in 2008, two thirds higher than in 2001.
  • More than half of the clients in 2008 had four or more priority debts, such as mortgage or rent arrrears, fuel bills or council tax arrears.
  • One client in ten had ten credit debts or more.
  • Forty five per cent of the homeowners had mortgage or secured loans arrears in 2008, up from 30 per cent in 2004.
  • Thirty per cent of the homeowners spent half or more of their monthly income on housing costs.
  • Two thirds of the homeowners with mortgage or secured loans arrears were in priority need for rehousing.
  • Forty three per cent of the CAB debt clients in 2008 were in fuel poverty because they spent more than 10 per cent of their income on fuel.
  • Half of CAB debt clients were in water proverty because they spent more than three per cent of their income on water.
  • More than half of the clients (58 per cent) had no spare money to pay their credit debts.
  • Clients who had spare money to pay their debts would take on average 93 years to repay them in full.
  • Nearly a third of CAB clients could be eligible for the debt relief order (DRO) a new alternative to bankruptcy which comes into force in April"

The report makes very interesting reading for policy makers and is another timely contribution from the CAB policy team.

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