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Unsecured debt hits new peak of £15,400 per household – TUC

Monday, 7th January 2019

New analysis published today (Monday) by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) reveal that household debt rose sharply over 2018, with unsecured debt (excluding mortgages) reaching new highs.

The key numbers:

  • Unsecured debt per household rose to £15,385 in the 3Q of 2018, up £886 on a year earlier
  • Total unsecured debt rose to £428bn in the 3Q of 2018 – a record high, and well above the £286bn peak in 2008 ahead of the financial crisis
  • Unsecured debt as a share of household income is now 30.4% – the highest it’s ever been, and above the level it reached in 2008 ahead of the financial crisis (27.5%)

Household debt - Through the years

1998 - The TUC data shows households had an average unsecured debt of £5,456.

2008 - Note as the financial crisis was starting, the household debt figure jumps to £11,146

2018 - Over past decade many households have been struggling with flat or reducing incomes along with rising prices through inflation. £15,400

Families worse off than before the 2008 crisis

The report acknowledges that working families on average are worse off today than before the financial crisis and suggests millions of households are reliant on borrowing to get by.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The government is skating on thin ice by relying on household debt to drive growth. A strong economy needs people spending wages, not credit cards and loans.

Mike Thomas, Founder of DebtWizard, commented:

'It's important to note that the TUC's figures actually include student loans. When you compare this with the Bank of England (BoE) figures, for which student loans are excluded, then the BoE suggest a debt total of half the TUC's estimate, that said, too many families are just taking on too much debt to make ends meet.

It's no surprise for me to see so many families suffering when you factor in years of flat or reducing incomes accompanied with higher prices through inflation. My real concern is what impact will any future rise in interest rates have on these already desperate families?'

You can read the full analysis from the TUC here (external link to TUC website).

Related -

BBC Radio London with Eddie Nestor

Mike Thomas commented on the TUC analysis with Eddie Nestor. To listen and timers see BBC Radio London - Drivetime with Eddie Nestor 7/1/19 from 6.45pm (DebtWizard link)

TalkRADIO Early Breakfast with James Max

Mike Thomas commented on the TUC analysis with James Max. To listen and timers see TalkRADIO Early Breakfast with James Max 05:05am 8/1/19 (DebtWizard link)

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