Debt help ‘only sought by minority’

by on March 2nd, 2012

Only one in 13 people who have debt problems intends to seek advice for it, a new report has found.

A poll by insolvency professionals body R3 has found that 39 per cent of adult Britons (18 million) have problems with their debts, but just 1.4 million (three per cent) will seek any help for it during the next six months.

R3 president Frances Coulson said this "unwillingness" is illogical, as by the same token if people were planning to invest a sum of money they "wouldn't think twice" about getting some help and advice.

She added: "This is frustrating as we know the experience of those who seek proper advice is invariably positive.  While there is some confusion about where to seek clear advice for about a quarter of the population, there seems to be a 'head in the sand' approach or maybe it is the stigma of bankruptcy."

The survey indicated 25 per cent do not know where to go for advice, but also showed that 41 per cent of those who have sought such help wished they had done so sooner than they did.

R3 noted this is the situation at a time when personal insolvencies reached record levels in 2011 and 32 per cent of people believe their financial situation will get worse before it gets better.

Ms Coulson said those who are seeking a solution for their debts should look to establish what their options are before choosing the one they believe is best.

People whose debt is so bad they may suffer personal insolvency might wish to consider whether an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) is a better choice than bankruptcy.

The most recent data from the Insolvency Service – covering the third quarter of 2011 – saw 30,219 personal insolvencies, with IVA's the most favoured solution, taken up by 13,048 individuals. 

By James Francis