There has been a 19,000 increase in the number of people with problems paying their bills over the past six months, according to the credit registration agency BKR.
Since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, there has been a steady 3% increase in the number of people with debt problems every six months. Currently 760,000 people are listed in the BKR’s register of bad debts.
The organisation describes the trend as ‘a worrying development’. Most people have run into debt because of divorce or because they have lost their job.
The BKR registers loans agreed with banks and other loan providers. A loan is considered to be in arrears after two to four months, depending on the sort of credit.
Research by the national statistics office CBS and the government’s socio-cultural think-tank SCP last year shows 7.6% of the Dutch population – around 1.2 million people – are living below the poverty line.
The SCP puts the poverty line at €1,040 a month for single people and €1,430 for a couple. A couple with two children is classed as poor if their gross income is less than €1,960 – or €24,000 per year.
The SCP definition is based on having an income which is ‘not much but sufficient’ and includes what is considered necessary to eat, live, buy clothes and take part in social activities.
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