Robert Skinner, director general of the Money Advice Trust, told a conference looking at tackling the problem that debt requires early intervention.
He claimed that the increase in demand on debt helplines was due to a greater awareness of advice services among the general public and also “because of an increase in the number of people on the margins”.
“The littlest disruption in life will take them over the margins,” added Mr Skinner.
Mr Skinner said that his own agency had also seen more people come to it for help but demand was now outstripping the supply of staff.
He believed that better investment in support to allow people with large debt to get help earlier would benefit people living on the margins and help prevent a fall into financial chaos.