There has been a dramatic upsurge in debt worries among people in the Hemel Hempstead area, according to new figures released by StepChange Debt Charity.
In the first six months of this year, 592 people in the Hemel Hempstead postcode area sought debt advice from the charity’s helpline.
The figure compares to 433 in the same period last year, an increase of 37%.
The figures do point to a slight reprieve for household budgets.
Those contacting the charity from the Hemel Hempstead area were an average of £9 per month better off than the same time last year.
Nevertheless, the average person in Hemel Hempstead seeking the charity’s help was £14 short of covering their essential household bills each month.
In the first six months of this year, the people of Hemel Hempstead who contacted the charity owed an average of £12,796 in unsecured debt including credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts.
The release of the findings comes as part of the charity’s Need to Sleep campaign, which aims to encourage people to recognise the impact long-term sleeplessness has on their well-being and address the root cause by seeking help with their money problems.
A YouGov survey, conducted on behalf of the charity, found that nearly 470,000 people in the East of England are being kept awake by money worries.
Chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity Mike O’Connor said: “Many people are plagued with severe financial worries that can have a huge impact on their health, relationships and even their ability to simply get a good night’s sleep.
“All too often, people face their debt burden alone, which can worsen the pressure and anxiety they are feeling.
“We would encourage anyone who is struggling with debt to take that first crucial step and seek free, confidential advice from StepChange Debt Charity.”
StepChange Debt Charity is the new name for the UK’s leading debt advice organisation.
Previously known as Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) it has more than 20 years’ experience of helping people become debt free.
The CCCS helped change the lives of more than 2m people – equating to more than 1,000 people a day.
You can find out more at www.stepchange.org