Household debt not reached unsustainable levels, BoE deputy says

Household debt in the UK has not yet hit unsustainable levels, according to Bank of England (BoE) deputy governor for monetary policy Ben Broadbent.

The deputy governor argued that rapid debt growth is a better predictor of potential financial distress than debt levels, adding that British household debt had not grown at a rate that has given any cause for concern.

Traditional unsecured debt, such as credit cards, consumer loans and overdrafts, has not grown much when compared directly to income since the mid-1990s, Broadbent announced in a speech to the London Business School yesterday.

According to Broadbent, the level of debt that had seen an increase was primarily car finance and student loans, neither of which, the BoE deputy governor said “is really unsecured debt in the conventional sense or at least carries the same risks for borrowers”.

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