More than 600,000 people contacted one debt charity last year

The number of people contacting StepChange is rising, the charity said

StepChange, a debt charity, said 619,946 new people contacted them to ask for help last year. That's 3.9 per cent more than the year before, and 22 per cent more than four years earlier.

What it means:  It means a lot of people are struggling with problematic debt. The charity is saying we need to be careful not to get too excited by the fact the government's saying the economy's recovering.

People in precarious positions are most affected: Most people (80%) contacting the charity were renters, even though only a third of UK households rent. More than a fifth (21.5%) of new clients single parents, though only 6% of UK households are single-parent families.

The charity also said that one in five of its new clients had a physical or mental health problem. Last year, we spoke to Joe Bloom, whose debt spiralled as a result of his anxiety disorder.

The Bank of England has hinted it's going to increase interest rates in the UK, which will make debt more expensive. By setting  interest rates low, the Bank of England encourages people to spend money, which helps businesses out, but can also increase inflation as more spending encourages businesses to raise their prices. The Bank thinks people are getting a bit richer, so can handle higher interest rates, which will mean people will pay more on the cost of their debt. StepChange is saying that could really harm a lot of people in the UK.

Read the full story (The Guardian)

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