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Record high for family debt, warns the TUC

Friday, 13th January 2017

New analysis published by the Trades Union Congress, TUC, shows that household debt is well above the £290bn peak in 2008 ahead of the financial crisis and is still rising, the study finds that:

  • unsecured debt per household rose to £12,887* in the third quarter of 2016, which is up £1,117 on a year earlier – the highest annual increase since at least 1997
  • total unsecured debt rose to £349bn in the third quarter of 2016 – a record high, and well above the £290bn peak in 2008 ahead of the financial crisis
  • unsecured debt as a share of household income is now 27.4% – the highest it’s been for eight years.

*The amount of unsecured debt per household is an average taken across all UK households. As some households will not have any unsecured debt, the typical debt of an indebted household will be higher still

Earlier this week the Bank of England published an analysis showing that household borrowing surged in the run up to Christmas. The monthly cash rise in consumer credit for November 2015 was the highest since February 2008.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Rising household debt signals that too many people are still struggling to make ends meet. With pay growth slowing, and households facing a lost decade on wages, it’s no surprise that more families are relying on borrowing to meet the costs of day-to-day essentials.

“Although employment has risen, wages are still worth less today than eight years ago. This has left families struggling to meet the rising cost of living. We need a recovery where families can afford to pay their bills and raise their children without relying on credit cards and payday loans.

Full TUC press release is here

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