TUC data reveals peak in UK unsecured debt per household

Unsecured debt per UK household increased to £14,540 in the third quarter of 2019, a rise of £430 on a year earlier, new data published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has revealed.

The TUC suggested Government austerity, the rise of insecure work and years of wage stagnation have been the key reasons behind the increase in unsecured debt.

The latest data showed the average household debt is now 31% above its peak before the 2008 financial crisis, and that total unsecured debt – debt other than mortgages – rose to £407bn in the third quarter of 2019.

The TUC said this was the first time it had gone over £400bn, and well above the £286bn peak ahead of the financial crisis in 2008.

Furthermore, the data revealed unsecured debt as a share of household income was now back to the same record high of 27.5% that it reached during the beginning of the financial crisis.

TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, commented: “It’s not about keeping up with the Joneses. This is hard-up families borrowing just to scrape by. It’s for paying the rent, heating the home and feeding the kids.

“The reason we’re seeing this is bad management of the economy. Wages are still worth less than a decade ago. Too many people have insecure jobs with uncertain hours, and vital support like working tax credits has been cut.

“No more excuses – the Government must put together an urgent plan to improve living standards and to help families struggling with dangerous levels of debt.”

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