Debt level rising, as families borrow more

Household debt is increasing, with families relying on borrowing to buy day-to-day essentials, according to a report.

A study by the TUC has found that consumer credit and student loans reached £319 billion in the third quarter of last year, a record high.

The total unsecured debt, excluding mortgages, is above the £290bn peak in 2008 ahead of the financial crisis, said the report.

Debt per household increased by £600 to £11,800 in the third quarter of 2015 compared to a year earlier, the research showed.

The TUC said the growth of consumer credit should worry the Government as a signal that “fundamental problems” with the economy have not been fixed.

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.

“The Government must do more to increase job security, with the hours and pay that people need to get by.

“Otherwise we’ll be heading back to the same problems that led to the last financial crash.

“Ministers should lead by example and bring an end to years of real-terms public sector pay cuts.”