Ken Skates AM joined the UK’s leading debt advice charity for the launch of a key report into the issues faced by people in financial difficulty in Wales.
The Clwyd South Assembly Member met representatives of the charity in the Senedd this week and heard that people aged 25-39 are most likely to be struggling.
Mr Skates said: “StepChange has helped hundreds of people in Wrexham and Denbighshire over the past year or so and it was good to get the opportunity to talk about this growing issue in closer detail. The work they do is vital.”
The Wales in the Red report found that nearly a quarter (24%) of Welsh adults are showing at least one sign of financial distress and 8% are experiencing severe debt problems.
Between July 2018 and 2019, StepChange helped 6,434 in Wales – including 320 people in Wrexham and 192 in Denbighshire. In Wrexham, 51% of clients were in arrears on at least one household bill, while the figure was 46% in Denbighshire.
Mr Skates said: “Wales in the Red shines a light on the rising debt crisis across our country and shows that more must be done to support people who are struggling with their finances. This includes ensuring people in problem debt get the help they need to recover, while also working to prevent people falling into financial difficulty in the first place.
“The report also found that some of the most common reasons for debt were linked to reduced income and unemployment due to injury and illness, highlighting a worrying proportion of people ill-equipped to cope with shocks to their income.”
Mr Skates added: “I look forward to working with StepChange to tackle problem debt throughout Clwyd South and would encourage anyone in my constituency who is struggling financially or who is worried about debts to contact them for advice.”
StepChange advice is available 24/7 online at www.stepchange.org or by calling 0800 138 1111 (Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday 8am-4pm).