MAS Press Release
8 August 2014
Debt advice work for nine out of ten over-indebted people
- 88% of people take action after receiving advice
- 76% reduce their debts
- 71% feel less stressed
Debt advice works for nine out of ten people struggling with serious financial problems, according to the latest figures from the Money Advice Service
Independent evaluation of debt advice funded by the Money Advice Service in England and Wales shows that 88% of clients who received face-to-face debt advice from its partners in 2013 went on to take action, such as making reduced payments to creditors, or setting up a household budget to address their debt situation.
As a result, 76% reduced or cleared at least some of their debts within three to six months of receiving advice. Six per cent were able to pay off their debts in full.
Mental Health and Debt
Over half (52%) of clients surveyed had a diagnosed mental health condition such as depression. However the evaluation shows that people’s overall wellbeing improved after receiving debt advice:
- 80% of clients said they felt more in control of their financial situation
- 71% said they were less stressed
- 67% reported that they were sleeping better.
Satisfaction with debt advice
Three quarters of people (74%) of people surveyed said that they got everything they wanted from their advice session, with a further 19% saying they got some of what they expected.
Reasons clients seek advice
The most common types of debts prior to seeking advice were rent and mortgage arrears, utilities and credit cards. Around half (52%) of clients had multiple types of bills or payments that they were concerned about.
Caroline Siarkiewicz, Head of UK Debt Advice Programme at the Money Advice Service commented:
“These figures provide further evidence that debt advice really does work. If anyone is struggling to pay their bills or feels stressed about their financial situation, they should seek advice immediately. Advice can help you get on top of your debts, and feel better about managing your money.
“Debt advice can be sought at any time. To help you find where to get high quality advice, use the Money Advice Service’s debt locator at moneyadviceservice.org.uk/debt”
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of national charity Citizens Advice, adds:
“People are falling into a debt trap as the gap between rising bills and stagnant incomes hits household budgets. Free, impartial debt advice can stop money problems from spiralling and put people back in control, so it’s more important than ever that people know where to turn.
“These figures show the impact that good-quality debt advice can have. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can be back on your feet.”
Notes to editors
- In 2013, the Money Advice Service funded debt advice in England and Wales provided by Citizens Advice, Bristol Debt Advice Centre (now Talking Money), Capitalise London, Community Finance Solutions, East Midlands Money Advice and Greater Merseyside Money Advice Project.
- This evaluation was carried out by Optimisa Research between November 2013 and January 2014. Clients of the 16 projects funded by the Service in England and Wales responded to a 20 minute telephone survey. In total, 1,380 interviews took place with clients across the different projects.
- The report – Money Advice Service Debt Advice Review 2013/14 is available here.
About the Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service is an independent organisation. It gives free, unbiased money advice online at moneyadviceservice.org.uk, over the phone on 0300 500 5000, and face-to-face right across the UK. The Service was set up by Government and is paid for by a statutory levy on the financial services industry, raised through the Financial Conduct Authority. Its statutory objectives are to enhance the understanding and knowledge of members of the public about financial matters (including the UK financial system), and to enhance the ability of members of the public to manage their own financial affairs.