6th richest country in the world: “Fuel bills and council tax pushing people into debt the fastest – charity warns “concerning” bill rises are ruining lives”

“A debt help charity is seeing growing numbers of people falling behind with fuel bills and a resurgence in the proportion of clients with high-cost credit such as payday loans.

StepChange Debt Charity said the proportion of clients in arrears with council tax is also “stubbornly high”.

In the first half of 2018, 13.1% of all new clients were behind on a gas or electricity bill compared with 11.4% in the first half of 2017.

The charity said the increase coincides with some companies having already raised prices this year.

While some customers could potentially reduce their bills by switching, those facing financial difficulty may be nervous of the complexity of price tariffs and wary of being caught out and put in an even worse financial position, StepChange said.

It wants more utility providers to establish flexible repayment schemes, as well as sharing effective good practice on working with people who are struggling to pay to minimise their costs. …”