British appetite for debt grows

It would take nearly $21,000 of
debt for the average Brit to start worrying about their financial situation, a
survey has revealed.

The poll of more than 2,000 people
showed that on average they would not begin to worry about their finances until
they owed $20,690 on credit cards and loans.

Life insurer Scottish Provident,
who commissioned the study, said the figures were a worrying indication of how
acceptable debt has become to consumers.

Susan Barclay said: “What
starts out as a small level of personal debt can quickly spiral out of control,
so Britons should ensure they keep on top of their personal spending.”

Younger people had an even higher
tolerance for debt, with a threshold of $21,748 in unsecured loans before they
believed it was an issue.

British consumers owed a total of $282,000
in overdrafts, loans and credit cards as of 5 January, the Office for National
Statistics said.

In a recent Bank of England survey,
11 per cent of households having difficulty keeping up with bills and credit
commitments said they would take on more debt including loans.

A further 11 per cent said they
would turn to relatives for help, while 24 per cent would take no action.