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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
Britons take debt in their stride
A hand swiping a credit card
Credit card debt has reached record levels
Being in debt is an "everyday reality" for most Britons, a survey has said.

However, debt ridden Britons, it seems, take being in the red in their stride.


A simple matter of defaulting on your credit card, loan or mortgage could easily snowball into a larger problem.

John Maltby, Kensington Mortgages
In fact, according to the Kensington Mortgage survey of 1,000 adults, many had a laissez-faire attitude to maintaining debt repayments.

Just over one quarter said that they would only become concerned about debt when they started to miss bill payments.

One fifth said that their indebtedness would only start to concern them when they owed more than they earned.

A further 20% said that debt would only worry them when repayments grew to a level where they could no longer provide for their families.

Record breakers

Consumer debt in the UK, excluding mortgages currently stands at 140bn, an increase of 126% since 1995.

As for mortgage lending, figures from the British Bankers' Association (BBA) show that borrowing in September was 34% higher than for the same month last year.

At present, with interest rates at a 30 year low, most economists agree that consumer debt, even at record levels, is manageable.

However, if interest rates were to rise, many debt ridden Britons may struggle to make their loan and credit card repayments.

Region-by-region

People in Scotland are most cautious when it comes to attitudes to debt, with more than a third of Scots saying their debts would start to bother them if they borrowed more than they earned.

But only 15% of people surveyed in Wales said they would start to worry if they missed a mortgage repayment.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Kensington chief executive John Maltby said: "For most of us debt in some form is an everyday reality."

"However, it is widely recognised that people often have no idea about their money problems.

"A simple matter of defaulting on your credit card, loan or mortgage could easily snowball into a larger problem."

See also:

13 Sep 02 | Business
02 Sep 02 | Business
29 Jul 02 | Business
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