News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Debt picbanner.jpg
Debt pic.jpg
World News

'Every envelope opened is hope entering the home': CAP urges people to seek help as debt spirals

by Donna Birrell

The national debt help charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has sounded the alarm about the growing number of UK households on low incomes being pulled into debt, simply to pay for essential living costs.

Its report, Pushed Under, Pushed Out looked at ten years’ worth of data from more than 35,000 people to show the impact of debt.

It found that 82 per cent of people with income below the minimum level were in arrears due to essential household bills - representing around one million people across the UK.

Those in low income employment were found to be most affected,  seeing the largest relative drop below the level of income they need (8 percentage points, or around £50 a week for a family with two children), showing that work doesn’t necessarily protect against the impact of low incomes and debt.

The charity is now concerned many people already on low incomes are facing a tipping point into poverty. The research conducted by Loughborough University shows that debt repayments of just £30 a week could tip people below the Minimum Income Standard, increasing the risk of more acute deprivation.

Alongside this, CAP’s polling showed that borrowing even small amounts isn’t an option for many, with over 8 million UK adults (15 per cent) saying it wouldn’t be easy to borrow even £200 in an emergency. 

CAP’s chief executive Stewart McCullough told Premier Christian News, low incomes and debt are pushing more people into poverty:

“The issue pushes you into debt, the debt pushes you into a spiral and the spiral drops your income to unacceptably low levels. In our church-based movement we often go into homes where the home is cold, the cupboards are bare, the envelopes are unopened. People are in quite difficult circumstances.

“Our new research and polling confirms what we are already seeing on the ground - that the cost of living crisis is far from over. We see first-hand how completely helpless many people feel, worn down by trying to live on an income that’s so low they can't even cover their essential costs. We see how this robs them of their hope and dignity.”

Alongside the research, CAP commissioned a YouGov poll which revealed that more than 15 million people across the country are struggling with repaying debt.

It found that 4.5 million UK adults have been mainly using credit in the last six months to pay for monthly bills, with around a million people in arrears with their essential bills.

But McCullough told Premier it’s important to remember there is light at the end of the tunnel:

“We often talk about poverty as an economic issue. But actually, it's one that creates social isolation, emotional anxiety, and spiritual isolation as well. Our approach is to try to address those four things in the round, and therefore, reduce the anxiety. It’s so amazing to see every envelope that's opened, and filed and put in a budget, and dealt with is fear and anxiety leaving that home and hope entering it.”

Has called for the UK Government, devolved administrations, local authorities, essential services providers and the credit industry to use the research findings to help inform their anti-poverty strategies. In particular, the charity has asked them to make debt deduction rates from benefits more affordable so that people are left with enough income to afford the essentials.

You can access free debt help at or 0300 328 666.



A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email