Three-quarters of people will struggle to pay off their debt after lockdown according to new research bey free debt advice company, PayPlan.

The company conducted a survey to find out how people in debt have been affected during the Coronavirus outbreak. The FCA have extended payment holidays for mortgages and other debts, and although the majority of those surveyed by PayPlan feel paying back their debts now is a priority, confidence is low.

PayPlan surveyed 1,000 people who approached them for debt advice on how their finances had been impacted by Coronavirus, and how they view their future. The results show that whilst 46% reached out for debt advice because they were concerned about a recent reduction in income, the majority (78%) were in financial trouble before Coronavirus began.

Worryingly, a substantial 74% of people said they feel that they either know they won’t be able to repay their debts or are unsure whether they’ll be able to repay them when their income returns to normal. However, consumers seem to have a clear view of their financial situation, as only 12% had taken a mortgage holiday and 64% of respondents said they viewed repaying debt as a priority.

There is still a lot of uncertainty for furloughed employees, as companies decide on how to balance the books as they come out of lockdown. PayPlan found that 61% of furloughed employees don’t feel their job is secure, which highlights the anxieties felt by millions right now.

Rachel Duffey, CEO of PayPlan, said “Not tackling existing debt and taking payment holidays only delays the problem and can sometimes make the matter worse. Seeking professional debt advice now is crucial if a long-term financial problem is to be prevented or made worse.”