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More full-time workers seeking debt help

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Debt charity StepChange has reported an increase in the number of people in full-time employment seeking help.

In August, 40 per cent of people contacting the charity worked full-time, up from 36 per cent over 2020 as a whole.

This figure has gradually increased over the course of 2021, StepChange said.

In total, 12,500 new clients took full debt advice last month.

This is still only around half the level of the 2019 pre-pandemic equivalent monthly volume, according to the charity.

It put this “counter-intuitive phenomenon” down to the support that many households in financial difficulty have been receiving.

“Such support means many households have not yet reached a point of crisis, which is the point at which most people turn to debt advice (despite the sector’s efforts to encourage earlier intervention),” the charity said.

“It is unclear, with the withdrawal of furlough, the increase in costs such as energy bills, the withdrawal of the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit, and the resumption of rent arrears evictions, how much longer demand will remain suppressed.”

According to StepChange data for August, the rent arrears of the average new client stood at £1,733. In comparison, the 2020 average was £1,463 and the 2019 average was £1,084.

Around a third of clients were claiming Universal Credit and more than three fifths were women.

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