charity shines light on impacts of debt

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A charity says it has seen more customers with issues such as depression, anxiety and panic attacks.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) also said there had been an increase in customers sacrificing meals or going without heating, as well as an increase in people unable to afford basic toiletries.

The charity said it saw a more than 40% increase in calls to its UK helpline in the first five months of 2022, compared to last year.

His report said, “Without a doubt, money affects mental health, and mental health affects income.”

The charity has also found that there is a gap of nearly £4,000 between the average debt its customers have when it is at its peak and the average annual income they have, making it very difficult to free from debt without getting free help.

There are also signs that people are in higher debt arrears to cover their basic needs, which could lead to serious consequences such as fines or evictions if not dealt with, the body warned. charitable.

The average maximum debt for a CAP client is £17,306, while their average income is £13,404 after housing costs, a difference of £3,902.

The average amount owed in terms of priority debt also rose to £6,698 from £5,852.

Priority debts often cover basic living expenses such as rent and council tax.

They can lead to more serious consequences, such as court fines, deportation or even jail time in some cases if left untreated, CAP said.

The report also highlighted the impact of debts on family relationships.

Two-thirds (67%) of CAP clients said their children had been affected in some way by their debt crisis.

Almost half (48%) said it had affected their children’s emotional well-being or mental health, 13% said it had affected their school performance and 6% said it had affected their physical health .

CAP client Syd said that after getting free debt relief, “It made such a difference. If I had continued as before, I probably wouldn’t be here now. I saw no way out. These people will not judge you, they are just there to help you.

Gareth McNab, CAP external affairs director, said: “The reality for families on the lowest incomes is that many of them simply don’t have enough money to be able to run their homes, buy the essential and feed themselves and their children.”

He added: “We encourage anyone struggling to apply for free debt help because we know that with such low incomes and rapidly rising costs, many families find it impossible not to get into debt and it looks like things are going to take revenge. harder this winter.

The UK government recently announced a package of widespread and targeted cost-of-living support measures.

People will start to see cost of living payments hitting their bank accounts on July 14.

From that date, a first installment of £326 will begin to be paid to low-income households on benefits. The second part of the £650 one-off payment will follow in the autumn.

Households will get a £400 cut on energy bills and pensioners will also get a £300 payment in November/December on top of the winter fuel payment, while £150 will be paid by September people receiving disability benefits.

Mr McNab added: “The Chancellor’s recent announcement of support meaning the most vulnerable and low-income families will receive £1,200 was significant, direct and targeted and this report shows how desperately needed it was. .

“However, we work with people who have been struggling for months and have already found themselves with costs and debts much higher than the support offered.”

He said: “Many people are still facing hardship in the coming months, prices continue to rise rapidly and unfortunately this crisis is far from over.”

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