The Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) has published a report on lifestyle spending after it saw a 257 per cent rise in calls for advice from those earning over £30,000 since 2003.
Helen Saxon of the CCCS, the report’s lead author, said: “Much of the problem in this group can be put down to a drive to maintain an image of affluence. In theory, a take-home income of £30,000 a year should be enough to allow most families to manage.
“But large mortgages, rising school fees, keeping up with the Joneses and the increasing availability of credit have made debt a normal part of life for many of the middle class.”
According to the CCCS research, those earning more than £30,000 ran up an average unsecured debt of £70,000, while homes with a net income of under £10,000 only had an average of £20,000 of unsecured debt.
Britain’s middle-classes are further in debt because lenders are more likely to give loans to those earning more, the report saying that they are seen as a low-risk group.
With this report based only on the amount of people who have asked for advice at the CCCS, the real debt problem could be even worse as people pursue a luxury lifestyle.