Britain’s personal debt and what the General Election could bring

The staggering amount of personal debt in the UK is likely to surprise many people. Our infographic takes a closer look at the figures ahead of Thursday’s General Election.

Britain may be out of the economic downturn and seemingly back on the road to recovery, but the incomes of most households in the country continue to be squeezed by the rising cost of living and a lack of corresponding wage increases.

Personal debt is still a big issue in this country, but do you know just how big? And how will the promises and policies of the government we’re about to vote in affect those struggling with debt?

To take a closer look at the facts and figures, we’ve put together an infographic that examines not only the ins and outs of personal debt, but also how they’re impacting Britons in different parts of the country.

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How much debt does Britain have - ClearDebt
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Britain and its debt

It might surprise you to learn that the average credit card debt per household now stands at £2,300, with UK consumers owing £1.5 trillion in total.

Suggesting some might be finding it tricky to keep on top of their repayments, eight per cent of households spend more than half of their income on covering debts – and around 244 people are declared insolvent or bankrupt every single day.

The highest levels of personal debt are in Southampton, where the average amount per person is £1,900.

And the debt situation might not be getting any better in the near future, as 20 per cent of 35 to 44 year olds admitted to having to borrow to make ends meet. This is people of working age, who are also likely to have families to raise.

Are the politicians doing enough about debt?

As you can see from the infographic, Britain’s debt mountain is currently more than the government’s annual budget for education and housing put together, a whopping £127 billion more than originally thought, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics in September 2014.

Much has been made during the 2015 election campaign about cutting the deficit in spending and getting the country as a whole back in the black again, but is this being done by making promises that will be detrimental to people on a personal level?

For example, the Conservatives are planning a two-year freeze in working age benefits, while the Liberal Democrats have also claimed that the Conservatives will be slashing child benefits and child tax credits if they get in.

The Conservatives also plan to give pensions expert Ros Altmann a role that would include conducting a review of financial fairness for consumers.

Meanwhile, it’s estimated that Labour’s plans to reinstate the 10p rate of tax will only leave people 50p a week better off, plus they’re also capping increases in child benefit at one per cent.

What’s more, both Labour and the Conservatives are likely to reduce pension tax relief for high earners.

How you can do something to help your family

It’s important that we don’t let the politicians pay lip service to what people really need in this country, which is why we’re calling for Brits to speak to their parliamentary candidates as May 7th nears to ensure they’re really going to do something to help. Be it by email, phone or even Twitter, contacting your candidate today could make all the difference. You can search for the candidates in your area using yournextmp.com.

In the meantime, if you’re struggling with debt check out our blog on why insolvency procedures like IVAs and DROs could be better for most debtors than limping along with astronomical repayments.

Feel free to share our infographic and get people talking about Britain’s personal finances as we all prepare to put our voting slips in those ballot boxes!

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