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One in five people ‘would not seek support if they owed money’

The average person will wait until they are nearly £8,000 in debt before seeking help, research has suggested.

Credit information company Experian found that £7,835 worth of debt would typically be the trigger point at which people would look for help.

One in six (15%) people said they had been taught to keep money matters to themselves and just over one in five (21%) would fear being “judged” if they discussed their finances.

A fifth (20%) of people surveyed said they would not look for any support at all if they owed money.

Nearly the same proportion (19%) said money conversations made them feel anxious while more than a third (36%) of people said they worry about their personal finances every day.

Nearly two-fifths (37%) of people said they have had to dip into their savings over the past year while 29% said they did not have any savings to fall back on, the survey of 2,000 people across the UK by Opinium in April found.

Experian said it has partnered with Citizens Advice to encourage people to open up about their money worries sooner and seek support.

On Tuesday, it is launching the Credit Paws Cafe, in partnership with Citizens Advice Nottingham and District.

The one-day pop-up event will allow people to get help with their money concerns as well as being able to spend some time relaxing in the presence of puppies.

James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian, said: “The economic landscape means that more people are finding themselves in increasingly challenging financial situations.

“Whilst money is often a taboo subject, being in over £7,000 worth of debt could be a significant burden, so it’s more important than ever that people feel they can have honest conversations about it and get the support they need.

“This can be daunting, so we’re launching the Credit Paws Cafe to provide a helping ‘paw’ for those taking that first step in speaking about their money concerns and regaining control over their finances.”

Donna Cumberlidge, chief officer, Citizens Advice Nottingham and district, said: “It’s vital that people seek help with their finances if they have challenges they can’t solve alone, so it’s great to see the Credit Paws Cafe helping people feel comfortable enough to start those conversations.

“While it can seem daunting, I’d urge anyone who is worried about money to open up to an expert so they can take the first step toward feeling more in control of their finances.

“If you’re looking to make more informed financial decisions reach out to your local Citizens Advice for free, confidential services all year round.”

Support with money matters can be found by visiting citizensadvice.org.uk.

Other help and support is also available, for example through charities such as StepChange, Christians Against Poverty and the National Debtline, which is run by the Money Advice Trust. The Government-backed MoneyHelper service can also help with money tools and tips.

People who are struggling should also contact their bank or credit provider, to discuss what options are available to them.

If people are struggling with their energy bills, regulator Ofgem provides information about the support available at ofgem.gov.uk/information-consumers/energy-advice-households/getting-help-if-you-cant-afford-your-energy-bills.

People can also find out more about the Government support available to households at helpforhouseholds.campaign.gov.uk.