Britons ‘hiding debt from partners’

Millions of Britons are in more debt than they care to admit – with their nearest and dearest the last to know.

A study by the Co-operati…

Millions of Britons are in more debt than they care to admit – with their nearest and dearest the last to know.

A study by the Co-operative Bank has indicated £41 billion of secret debt exists, with 13 per cent of the 62 per cent of people in relationships who owe money keeping it quiet from their other halves.

Director of family law at Co-operative Legal Services Christina Blackshaws said: "These findings show that there is a huge amount of money that couples are hiding from each other."

She went on to warn there can be significant consequences if these debts emerge after a relationship break-up, as many people could suddenly find they have responsibility for their ex-partner's financial liabilities.

While married couples splitting up have to disclose such financial details, cohabiting couples do not, Ms Blackshaws noted, adding that this applies in cases of death as well as relationship break-ups.

The report also suggested young people may be at the greatest risk of this problem, since those aged under 35 tend to be more indebted and are less likely to hold joint accounts than older people.

Only 27 per cent of those aged 25 to 34 have such accounts, compared with 48 per cent of the 55 to 64 age range.

Head of home and family at the Co-operative Bank James Hillon remarked: "The findings show that younger people are the most debt-laden age group, perhaps unsurprisingly due to university costs and a more relaxed attitude to money, however the average debt in this group is more than £30,000 which is worrying."

A spokesman for What Mortgage recently stated those applying for a home loan could find their chances of success are greatly reduced by a lack of a clean credit record.

Such a situation can arise if someone is associated with an address where there may be debt – such as those of a former partner with whom that property was shared.

By James Francis
 

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