Single tenants aged 41 to 60 are at greatest risk of personal debt

Are you single, renting and aged 41 to 60? Then you’re at the greatest risk of spiralling personal debt, report finds

  • Half of those seeking debt advice from charity over three years in 41-60 range
  • 85% of people helped by Christians Against Poverty rent, while half are single
  • But just one sixth of those helped by Bradford-based charity are unemployed
  • Research comes ahead of BBC Two documentary about organisation on Friday

Single tenants aged between 41 and 60 are at the greatest risk of spiralling personal debt problems, it was claimed today.  

More than half of those seeking debt advice from a charity over three years were in the age range – with 85 per cent renting their home and nearly half being single.

Just one sixth of those helped by Christians Against Poverty were unemployed – but about a third were claiming disability benefits or in-work benefits.

Single tenants aged 41 to 60 are at the greatest risk of spiralling personal debt (file image)

The research was carried out by London School of Economics experts, who looked at how the charity works, what users thought of it and its impact on society.  

It comes ahead of the Bradford-based organisation being featured in an hour-long BBC Two documentary this Friday evening, called The Debt Saviours. 


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More than four in ten of the families who contact the charity have been households with children, with more than a quarter being single parent households.

Poor mental health was also often a problem, with more than a quarter saying they faced this issue, while the vast majority of clients were below the poverty line.  

Christians Against Poverty, whose founder John Kirkby is pictured, will be featured in a BBC Two documentary this Friday called The Debt Saviours

Professor Anne Power, head of the LSE Housing and Communities group, said: ‘The intensive and holistic nature of the support, starting with the home visit, is crucial. 

‘The service is local, personalised, long term, deals with debt and the causes of debt, and is a great help for vulnerable and isolated clients.

‘It is the combination of both debt help alongside personal support that makes CAP’s service so special in how they work with clients. This benefits society as a whole.’

The experts carried out 120 interviews with clients, volunteers and staff, and looked at 12,000 household records, 1,000 client surveys and 3,100 group services records. 

The Debt Saviours will be shown on BBC Two this Friday between 9pm and 10pm

How a mother whose children were in private school faced £30,000 of debt when she split from husband 

Caroline faced more than £30,000 of debt

She was living in a large house in an upmarket area with two cars on the driveway and had her children attending private school.

But when 48-year-old Caroline split from her husband four years ago, her life changed and she faced the ordeal of more than £30,000 of debt.

The mother was on benefits for 15 months, had three operations and suffered a facial paralysis known as Bell’s palsy due to stress.

However, Caroline sought the help of a local debt advice centre in Bolton, Greater Manchester, and two years later became now debt free.

She said: ‘In 2014 my husband and I split up. I was left with a share of debts amounting to over £30,000. I was employed by my husband, so when he left I lost my job.

‘I lived in a big house in a very nice area, two cars on the drive, my children were in private school, and I had no idea that everything was so bad. I couldn’t afford the household bills.

‘My son had to leave his friends and change schools. I couldn’t heat our house. We lived in one room and shared the king size bed in my room to keep warm. 

‘I had no food. I skipped eating so I could feed my children, and was living on £72.50 a week in sick benefit.

‘Those months were probably the worst of my life and I had gone from the one helping others and supporting charities to being the one needing help myself.’

But some friends told her about the Christians Against Poverty charity – and it eventually helped her with a budget to become debt free in February last year.

She said: ‘I paid it (the debt) all off in instalments. By that time I also had some savings, which was a good thing, because I broke my leg two months later and was off work for five months. It’s amazing to be debt free.’

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