Charity sees rise in water debt difficulties

Almost a quarter of clients who turned to a leading national debt charity for help last year had fallen behind on paying their water bills, according to a new report.

StepChange has revealed more than 23 per cent of its clients were in arrears with water charges, compared to just under 20 per cent five years ago.

The average arrears has also risen from £574 in 2013 to £709 in 2017 with single parent households and the under 25s shouldering the largest amounts of water debt.

StepChange’s Behind on the basics report sheds new light on the financial pressures facing many households with two in five people who turned to the charity for help in 2017 having fallen behind on at least one of their essential bills, such as water, council tax, mortgage or rent.

Responding to the report, Janine Shackleton, Policy Manager at the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Although water companies are now doing much more to try and help customers in financial hardship, many households are unaware of the support that exists or don’t expect to get assistance. Our message is really simple – don’t delay if you’re struggling to pay. Ask for help today from your water company.”

CCWater’s website is also packed with tips and tools to help people take their first steps towards reducing their water bills or receiving help with debt.

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