We know that debt affects many households and comes in many shapes and forms, from high-interest doorstep loans to rent arrears. You may find yourself completely overwhelmed when trying to deal with debt - but it is important to remember that you are not alone as help and advice is available. 

See the links below for free independent organisations that can assist you if you are in debt and need help and advice. 

Council debt advice

Find advice and information about dealing with debts, bailiffs/enforcement agents, and how to manage money on the Council's website. The Council's debt advice team provides a specialist debt advice appointment service which is available for queries about multiple debts or if you have received a warrant of eviction. 


Payplan offers comprehensive advice, guidance, and support if you are struggling with debt. They aim to help you find a way out of debt and take back control of your money.  

Payplan offers a full range of debt solutions including free Debt Management Plans (DMPs) and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) which can be tailored to suit your personal circumstances. Their experience enables them to provide free debt advice to anyone facing money problems and to support people in taking control of their situations  

You can contact Payplan by calling the free helpline on 0808 278 4588 which is open Monday - Friday 8.00 am – 8.00 pm and Saturday 9.00 am – 3.00 pm (calls free from landline and mobile).

Step Change Debt Charity

StepChange provides free expert debt advice based on your personal circumstances. They provide free telephone debt information and advice for anyone experiencing debt problems.  

Their website provides a list of debt advice tools to help people get free anonymous debt help 24 hours a day. These range from a 60-second debt test, to quickly assess the scale of the problem, to Debt Remedy, full online debt advice and budgeting tool that provides a personal action plan to help people take their first steps out of debt.  

You can also contact StepChange by calling the free debt helpline on 0800 138 1111 which is open Monday - Friday 8.00 am-8.00 pm and Saturday 8.00 am-4.00 pm (calls free from landline and mobile). 

Loan sharks

Loan sharks are unlicensed lenders. They operate illegally and will lend you money when nobody else will, but:  

  • Their rates will be very high, and you may find it difficult to keep up the repayments 
  • You may be forced to get a second loan to pay off the first, causing your debts to get out of control 
  • They may use violence or intimidation to collect debts  

For confidential help and advice please contact the Illegal Money Lending Team on 0300 555 2222, text 'loan shark and your message' to 07860 022 116, email [email protected] or visit www.gov.uk/report-loan-shark 

Pay day loans and weekly payment stores

Households are being pushed into financial difficulties due to several reasons: unemployment, benefit delays, and increasing bills. Several organisations can make finance available to you at very high rates of interest, which can be very tempting when you are finding it difficult to cope. These lenders offer ‘easy’ borrowing, but often at very high-interest rates. For example, you could be paying off a budget range washing machine over 3 years and end up paying more than twice the original cost!  

There are other options available to you, such as the Stockport Credit Union. If you are finding it difficult to manage your weekly payments, please contact us to discuss your options with the Money Advice Team. 

I was sick with worry about my debts. It felt like every time I paid one-off, I had to borrow again to pay off another. I was desperate and borrowed £200 from a loan shark. I thought it would solve my problems, but it made everything worse. The loan shark kept coming to my house and demanding money. The amounts he said I had to pay kept jumping up and I didn’t know where to go for help. The Money Advice Team put me in contact with Illegal Money Lending Team. They gave me the facts about loan sharks and took information about my situation. The loan shark no longer comes knocking at my door, and I’ve contacted Step Change who has really helped me sort everything out.

For more help and advice, please contact the Money Advice Team on 0161 217 6016 or email [email protected]