News Article

Consumer Credit

Personal debt tops £180 billion in Britain

By CreditMan Friday, February 12, 2016

By Veronica Pembleton

Back in November the amount of money being borrowed by individuals saw the biggest monthly increase since the financial crisis back in 2008.

The research, which was carried out for BBC News and debt charity StepChange, analysed personal loans, credit and store cards. The staggering £180bn that does not include mortgage costs, was revealed to be more than the annual budget for the NHS.

At some point in life most people will borrow money. Aside from being a way of building credit scores, borrowing is typically used to bridge gaps when someone is hit by an unforeseen expense. People most frequently seek that financial support for things such as bills, cars, houses, education, and so on.

The debt however, can quickly become a problem as people struggle to repay loans as they are having to maintain separate costs simultaneously. In light of this research, investigators have now warned that this can even occur regardless of how much people earn or where they live.

The study examined where people have requested advice or guidance for debt in Britain by evaluating 750,000 calls to StepChange over the previous 5 years. The review, highlighted that Barking, Dagenham, Manchester, Sandwell and Hull were the biggest debt worriers, with the London Borough of Newham Topping the list. Despite this statement, the charity says that it does not necessarily depend on where the person is situated as it can differ due to many issues including household incomes, job losses, deaths, illness and even divorce.

StepChange announced that some 1.4 million people have contacted them alone and they are just one charity of many across the country that exist to help people with their money.

It was also not surprising to see that most of the individuals contacting the services were young. After a report from Citzens Advice at the end of 2015, it was widely covered that young adults were facing huge levels of debt after excessive borrowing. Citizens Advice claimed people aged 17 to 24 asked for advice on 102,296 debt issues in the last year, a 21% rise on the previous year. Large student debts, career demands, interest fees and attempts to get on the property ladder were commonly leading to their escalating monetary troubles.

It isn’t only young adults that are struggling with stifling debt. Aviva recently conducted research into family finance which revealed that family debt has risen to an average of £13,520. This again is another figure that is at its highest level in years. There are increased worries that for some individuals, a reliance on money lending options such as credit cards, could become more problematic if interest rates were to rise.

With so much light being shed on these issues, there is now an increased focus on getting people the information and support they need in order to manage their money more efficiently. Aside from organizations such as StepChange offering advice, there will be a push on promoting options like accounting software and debt management systems in order to ensure people can efficiently meet repayments and pay off their debts.