Leeds charity warns self-employed workers are most vulnerable to debt

Self-employed workers are the most dependent on credit and vulnerable to a problem debt cycle, according to Leeds-based StepChange Debt Charity.

Of the three main types of credit used by those seeking the charity's help, debt levels were far higher for the self-employed.

Researchers looked at client debt levels for 2012. They found the average credit card balance across all StepChange Debt Charity clients was £10,517 spread over 2.8 credit cards. By comparison, self-employed clients owed on average £17,237 across 3.6 credit cards.

Average overdraft balance for clients was £2,082; whereas self-employed clients owed an average of £3,615, and while an average client had a personal loan balance of £10,479, self-employed clients owned £13,266.

While anyone, whatever their job or income, can find themselves struggling with debt, those working for themselves seem to be particularly vulnerable to debt problems.I would be particularly concerned about the strain of trying to seek enough work to maintain an income while struggling with debt. Anyone in this situation should not suffer alone, but seek professional advice and support help from a debt charity as soon as they realise that they have a problem."

– Delroy Corinaldi, external affairs director of StepChange Debt Charity