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National Debt Awareness Week

The personal barriers to accessing debt advice will be in the spotlight this March during the tenth Debt Awareness Week.

The week (18-24 March) is organised by national debt advice charity StepChange, which supports thousands of people across the UK each year.

Each year, it shines a light on the causes of debt and the problems people are facing.

This year’s Debt Awareness Week will focus on what is stopping people from accessing debt support, despite the demands of the cost-of-living crisis.

The charity’s research found that there are five common reasons why people don’t seek out help:

The latest statistics also show that more than two in five (43%) of people who seek debt support are in full-time employment and that the average debt of someone seeking debt advice stands at £1,853.

One of the main reasons for being in debt is fuel debt, with around half (48%) of people who reach out for support doing so because they are in dual fuel energy arrears with their providers.

The government’s own research shows that in 2023, an estimated 13% of households – around 3.2 million homes – were in fuel poverty in England alone.

Over the last 12 months, the Trust has supported more than 61,000 people across Britain, including providing £15.7 million in energy debt relief grants to help households facing financial hardship with energy debts between £250 and £1,500. The Trust has also distributed £2 million worth of financial assistance payments to the most vulnerable.

54 Trust funded money and energy projects, employing 127 money and energy advisors, have helped households manage £17.5 million worth of debt, with a further £5.2 million worth of debt being written off entirely.

Find out what support you could be entitled to by checking these British Gas Energy Trust support tools links below:

Bounce Back Checklist

Better Off Calculator

Find Other Support Schemes

Local Fuel and Money Advice

Wellbeing Support