Growing proportion of under-40s seeking charity's help with debts

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A growing proportion of people seeking help with debt problems are aged under 40 years old, a charity has reported.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of all clients advised by StepChange Debt Charity in the first six months of 2017 were aged under 40. In 2011 this proportion stood at 51%.

StepChange also said that under-25s seeking the charity's help are struggling with "rapidly growing" debt levels.

In the first half of 2017 the average debt of the clients aged under 25 was £6,637 - a figure which has seen a 29% surge since 2015 when it stood at £5,151.

StepChange also said that lone parents now make up more than a fifth (21.5%) of the charity's clients.

In 2011, people living in rented accommodation made up just over half (55.4%) of the charity's clients - but by the first half of 2017 that proportion had ballooned to four-fifths (80.1%.)

The average debt held by StepChange's clients has increased from £14,251 in 2016 to £14,367 between January and June 2017.

A growing proportion of clients are also struggling to cover everyday household bills, StepChange said.

 StepChange is helping a growing proportion of under-40s with debts
StepChange is helping a growing proportion of under-40s with debts (StepChange/PA)

The proportion of the charity's clients who are struggling to cover their essential household bills such as rent, council tax and electricity has exceeded 40% for the first time.

Mike O'Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said: "While debt has the capacity to affect anyone, the rapidly rising debt levels of younger people, the huge over-representation among single parents and increasing numbers of those under-40 and those in rented accommodation highlight where some of the most acute and emerging problems lie."