Citizen’s Advice surveyed over 1,700 people to discover the majority reported their personal debt levels were having a damaging impact on work and home lives, family relationships and health.
Outstanding personal debt, including mortgages, rose from £1.06tn in September 2011 to £1.415tn by the end of September 2012. Most of the participants owe between £1,000 and £20,000 but 10 per cent owed in excess of £30,000.
CA chief executive Gillian Guy says: “In the 12 months up to 30 September 2012, CitizensAdvice Bureaux in England and Wales helped with over 2 million debt problems – 30 per cent of all bureau enquiries – and CAB advisers are currently dealing with nearly 8,000 new debt problems every working day.”
Nearly three in four participants said debt concerns were having an impact on their mental health while 54 per cent said their physical health was affected. Panic or anxiety attacks have been experienced by 51 per cent of those concerned over their mental health while 79 per cent said they had been losing sleep.
For those in employment, 51 per cent said their work performance was suffering as a consequence, 54 per cent find it harder to concentrate at work and 36 per cent are finding it difficult to do their job well.
The survey reveals 29 per cent of participants try to take their mind of debt by drinking, 24 per cent through eating and 29 per cent through smoking.
Nearly two in five, 38 per cent, are currently taking no action to tackle their debts and hope the problem will go away.