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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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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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