Consumer Debt in the UK. Utility Week Consumer Debt Conference on March Caroline Siarkiewicz Head of The UK Debt Advice Programme

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1 Consumer Debt in the UK Utility Week Consumer Debt Conference on March Caroline Siarkiewicz Head of The UK Debt Advice Programme 1

2 Consumer debt in the UK economic landscape Examining customers ability to pay; The benefits of debt advice. 2

3 Consumer debt in the UK economic landscape 3

4 The Challenge Levels of Debt People in the UK owed trillion at the end of January 2016 (The Money Charity) The average total debt per household including mortgages was 54,080 in January 2016 (The Money Charity) On average, clients with credit cards have outstanding balances of 8,403 (StepChange) Last year, StepChange Debt Charity dealt with nearly 1.7bn of credit card debt which represents 41% of the total amount of debt they see. 4

5 Over-indebtedness - the National Picture

6 The over-indebted population There are four key drivers of over-indebtedness Each of these drivers increases a person s risk of financial difficulty 6

7 Age Age Income Family Renting Young people are more likely to be over indebted Least likely to be financial sophisticated Most likely to miss credit payments and use payday lenders

8 Income Age Income Family Renting As shown in a number of surveys, low household income is related to indebtedness With more affluent groups, other factors come into play, with this group it is a key driver

9 Family Make-Up Age Income Family Renting Having children increases the risk of over indebtedness by half (13% to 20%), more children increase the risk further Being a single parent also increases the risk, with a third of large single parent families being over indebted

10 Renting Age Income Family Renting One in three people rent in the UK, nearly 50% of Londoner rent Social renting is more directly correlated with over-indebtedness Private renting less so, except in London where high rents directly affect indebtedness

11 Living with debt 66% find keeping up with bills a heavy burden 64% have fallen behind with credit commitments in the last 3 months 42% have been chased by creditors in last year 76% would describe themselves as being in debt Only 17% of people that are over-indebtedness are accessing advice. 11

12 MAS and the Debt Advice sector Money Advice Service has a statutory objective to support people with debt advice and to work with organisations to improve the availability, consistency and quality of advice. We distribute 38 million a year into funding debt advice providers; In 2015/16 we are on course to support 370,000 people with debt advice support via our partners; MAS Quality Framework; New tools for bring consistency to the sector; Improving engagement work. 12

13 Improving Engagement A key focus for MAS over the few years, is to tackle the problem of disengagement with advice. Awareness/ understanding Judgement and Stigma Trust Barriers Bandwidth/ capacity Paralysis Previous negative experience(s) 13

14 14 Examining a Customers Ability to Pay

15 The New Standard Financial Statement A single format financial statement for use by advice agencies and creditors A single set of common fixed and flexible expenditure categories One set of spending guidelines (or trigger figures) A savings category to build financial resilience Developed in collaboration with major advice providers, creditors and trade bodies 15

16 The New Standard Financial Statement Consistent method for identifying the appropriate debt solution for clients. Ensures affordability and sustainability of repayment arrangements. Shared format to budgets received from other creditors / advice providers 16

17 17 The Benefits of Debt Advice

18 Debt Advice works Receiving debt advice has a significant impact on reducing personal indebtedness and increasing the manageability of debt, irrespective of the channel used. More advice seekers also remained in manageable debt, compared to non-advice seekers (83% v. 72%) 18 October 2012 published research commissioned from YouGov

19 Positive impact of advice Nine in ten have taken action following their advice 92% are satisfied with the advice they receive Two-thirds feel their situation has already improved 80% have started to reduce their debt as a result Seven in ten no longer have creditors chasing them Most clients feel less stressed about their personal situation Source: Optimisa advice effectiveness research 9

20 Debt Advice A Creditor Perspective At UKAR we encourage customers to engage with the additional support that is available from non-fee charging debt advice providers. If a customer indicates that they are struggling to maintain their mortgage or loan repayments and have other debts such as utilities, overdrafts, credit cards and unsecured loans, we recognise that impartial debt advice providers can: Advise on debt priorities Take over negotiation with unsecured creditors and identify debt solutions Recommend ways to maximise a customer s income, such as welfare support From a creditor perspective, this partnership approach can enable us to build positive engagement with our customers and can help us to negotiate sustainable payment arrangements. 20

21 21

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