The Economic and Social Research Council has estimated that the UK’s level of personal debt increases by around £1 million every four minutes, while the total figure topped £1 trillion for the first time in 2005, prompting concern from many quarters.
The Consumer Credit Counselling Service also reported a significant rise in bankruptcy in the UK last year, attributed to people borrowing more at an ever-younger age.
Many charities have called for better advice for borrowers in the younger age brackets, who may see credit as a convenient means of acquiring goods without considering the possible consequences seriously enough. These can include bankruptcy in the most serous cases.
Moira Haynes of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau said the organisation was hoping for a “level playing field”, with banks helping their customers to borrow responsibly by running appropriate credit checks.
“All lenders should be reviewing a decision before lending,” she said. “There is a responsibility on the part of a lender and the borrower.”
Last year a spokeswoman for the Association for Payment Clearing Services said: “The key to tackling debt is to ensure the groups that need advice, get it”.