Client report 2023: Taking on UK poverty

James, who became debt free with CAP, smiling

Without CAP’s help I’d have still been locked in the house, sleeping on my couch and not doing much with myself – it was pure depression all the time. Now I know who to call if I’m struggling, I’m working and I’m getting married. I couldn’t raise a higher flag for CAP. 

— James, who went from barely surviving to confident and thriving through CAP 
Read our 2023 client report, exploring the severe poverty problem the UK is currently facing. 

Our latest client report, On the edge, shows how, time and again over the decades, we have seen God take our tiny acts and use them to reach into the darkest situations and bring hope. We have learnt that every act of kindness, compassionate word and moment of generosity creates a ripple of hope. And when your ripple of hope meets thousands of others across this country, it creates big waves. When we play our individual part, together we can see lives transformed across the UK, and even one day see poverty come to an end.

Key statistics

A bowl of hot food
of CAP clients have sacrificed meals at least monthly 
Broken heart icon
of CAP clients considered or attempted suicide as a way out of debt 
had to borrow money to pay for food, clothing or other living costs 
of new CAP clients in 2021 had arrears in either Council Tax, water, energy or rent 
borrowed in order to pay an essential household bill 
of CAP clients (2021) pursued insolvency, with a 12% increase in those going through a Debt Relief Order 
of CAP clients couldn’t afford basic toiletries like soap, toothpaste and sanitary items 
of CAP clients had fallen behind with one or more household bills 
A coin with a cross over it
of budgets created for clients were unsustainable due to low income 

2023 client report: in summary

Download the 2022 client report

Download report

In 2022, the cost of living continued to rise, while household incomes fell behind. Rates of priority debt went up, and more people struggled to pay household bills. We saw higher demand for emergency food shops, fuel vouchers and help with essentials.

A big concern found in our latest client report is that over half of CAP clients’ budgets were unsustainable due to low income. More people are being driven to extreme poverty and destitution, and one in two CAP clients have considered or attempted suicide before seeking help.

As a society, we have a severe problem on our hands and we cannot allow it to continue. At CAP, we’re pushing our 27 years of expertise to the limits and doing everything we can. Last year, we helped 9,168 people with their debts, delivered emergency support to 1,831 homes, and played a part in encouraging over 4,000 local churches to open Warm Welcome Spaces during the winter.

Now is the time to come together and fight back. Because poverty isn’t going anywhere unless we do something about it. Read our latest client report and find out how, together, we can take on UK poverty.

The people I see are having to make unacceptable choices in any decent society. They are having to sacrifice meals to pay bills. Too many of our clients can’t see a way out of this. People just feel like giving up. 

— Nicky McLaughlin, Wishaw Debt Centre Manager 

Download the 2023 client report

Read about how we can take action against UK poverty together, by downloading our 2023 client report.