Unsecured Debt Levels Forecast to Go Beyond Pre-crisis Peak

May 31, 2017

The average level of unsecured household debt in Britain will soon exceed the record levels of 2007 and before the financial crisis that devastated economies around the world.

That’s according to newly published analysis by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), which has concerns about what it calls a “living standards crisis” affecting families and individual consumers
across the UK.

Based on data compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the TUC has said that it expects to see the UK’s average unsecured debt level exceed its current high watermark of £13,300 per
household.

That figure is not much higher than the number for 2016, which put household debt levels at an average of £13,200 per household.

The TUC is convinced that unsecured debts levels are likely to continue increasing for the next several years at least as a result of what it perceives to be an over-reliance on debt and credit among families and working people.

In making its case, the union organisation points out that the average person’s wage packet in the UK is worth £20 less in 2017 than was the case prior to the financial crisis of the last decade.
Worryingly perhaps for people who are struggling to cope with their personal debts, ONS figures suggest that the real value of wages is currently falling.

Taking a broader view, the TUC says it is concerned that the British economy relies too heavily on credit-fuelled spending by consumers and households which are becoming increasingly indebted.

“The surge in household debt is putting the economy in the danger zone,” said the TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady.

“We’ve got this problem because wages haven’t recovered. Credit cards and payday loans are helping to prop up household spending for now, but millions of families are running on empty,” he
said.

Responding the TUC’s analysis on household debt in the UK, a spokesperson for the debt help charity StepChange revealed its estimate that around 8.8 million Brits now rely on credit to cover their
everyday household expenses.

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