'Problem debt' affecting more than one million families
8 May 2014 Last updated at 13:41 BST
More than a million families are struggling with "problem debt" meaning they are behind with at least one bill or credit commitment, according to a report by the Children's Society and StepChange debt charity.
On average, these households owe almost £3,500 and are taking out loans to pay for basics such as food and heating.
Michael Buchanan reports.