“Council tax debt problems overtake credit card debt”


16 February 2015

Citizens Advice reveals changing face of debt as consumer credit issues shift into arrears on essential household bills

Council tax debt is now the most common debt problem reported to Citizens Advice overtaking credit cards, new figures reveal today.

The charity expects to help with 191,400 of council tax debt issues in 2014/15 – a 20 per cent increase on 2013/14.

Today’s findings are from Citizens Advice’s major new report Consumer Challenges 2015, due out tomorrow, which reveals for the first time a full picture of how consumer markets are developing in the post-recession period.

The report highlights how since 2012/13 a growing proportion of people have been coming to Citizens Advice seeking help with rent, council tax, water and fuel debts. Yet during the same period the proportion of debt issues around credit cards, mortgages and unsecured personal loans has declined.

The increasing demand on housing and rise in rents means help with rental debts could reach 122,800 by the end of March 2015, 5% up on the previous financial year.

Debt problems with credit cards are expected to fall by 12 per cent to 155,700 in 2014/15 is 155,700.

The figures reveal the changing face of household debt, as the mainstream credit problems of the post-2008 period turn into problems with priority debts.

So far this year petrol and energy costs have gone down but in some cases the reductions are marginal compared to how prices have soared. Energy bills are now 210% higher than ten years ago.