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Up to one million people worried about meeting debt repayments

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Huge numbers of people are concerned about their debt due to the economic uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research conducted on behalf of the State-supported Money Advice and Budgeting Service (Mabs) indicates that up to one million people are concerned about meeting their repayments.

Debt distress is being felt particularly among those between the ages of 35 and 54 living in Dublin, the commuter belt and other urban and suburban locations.

This concern is likely to increase further this month with the end of mortgage payment breaks.

Mabs, which is funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board, said it is preparing for the fall-out as a result of Covid-19 and the increased level of debt distress.

This research was conducted by the agency Opinions in June among a sample group of 1,007 adults who are concerned about current or future debt.

It followed on from similar market research done at the end of last year with those concerned about debt.

The latest survey indicates that almost eight in 10 of these people say their household financial circumstances have been worsened by Covid-19.

This amounts to almost one million adults, Mabs said.

The money advice service said this was unsurprising given the change in employment status this year among debt holders.

Many were on reduced salary, with others on reduced time or working fewer days than normal. Some have been made temporarily redundant, with others made permanently redundant. The majority of those who are concerned about debt have seen their work situation worsen. Despite the negative financial situation, less than half of those affected have taken action to mitigate their financial difficulty.

Some 21pc say they have sought assistance from a friend or a family member.

Around one in 10 borrowed from a financial institution and 6pc have taken money from a moneylender.

Just 11pc of those who have taken action have contacted a debt resolution or support agency to date.

Mabs was identified as the number one destination for this group.

Many people said the pandemic financial supports were cushioning the true impact of the economic hit to their household budget.

Irish Independent