Young people are 'burdened with stifling levels of debt'

Citizens Advice is helping an increasing number of 17 - 24 year-olds

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Debt tips for young people from Citizens Advice

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images
  • Work out a basic budget, including rent, gas, electricity, travel and food
  • Prioritise the most important bills. The consequences for not paying some debts, like rent or council tax, can be much more serious than for others, so paying these first is important. Once you have done that, you can look at your budget and work out how much can go towards other debts
  • Make the most of the offers available to young people. Under 25s can often get discounts on travel and you may not have to pay council tax if you are in full-time education or on an apprenticeship. Check citizensadvice.org.uk for more information

Citizens Advice: Young people's average debt is £12,215

Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images

A new generation of young people are burdening themselves with "stifling" levels of debt, Citizens Advice has warned, after seeing the number of requests for help from this age group surge by a fifth in a year.

Across Wales and England people aged 17 to 24 have asked the charity for help with 102,296 debt issues in the last year - a figure 21% higher than the previous year.

Citizens Advice also said its analysis of official data, covering the UK as a whole, found that young people have £12,215 of "unsecured" (non-mortgage) debt on average, more than three times the average £3,988 debt just before the financial downturn between 2006 and 2008.

There have also been changes in the types of loans they are shouldering.The charity said that while much of the debt rise is due to student loans, there has also been an increase in "formal" loans such as bank or payday lending, as well as borrowing from friends and family.

Many young people already face challenges getting on the career and housing ladders - doing this while saddled with huge unsecured debts makes it an uphill struggle.

– Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice

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