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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 September 2007, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Consumer debt: Your comments
Credit can seem easy to get but hard to pay off
Chancellor Alistair Darling has asked the UK's banks to be more selective about whom they lend to.

His comments come after the most recent data from the Bank of England showed that borrowing by UK individuals now totals a record 1.35 trillion.

This figure includes everything from mortgages to other loans and credit cards.

As the UK's debt mountain becomes ever more of a hot topic, below are some of your recent e-mails detailing your experiences of coping with life in the red.

I was in a lot of debt 10 years ago. I was a single working parent who lost my job. My creditors put me through the mill, I lost my car, house and family. I am still paying the price now. Debt is not an easy option if you do not manage it well, or if you fall on hard times. It is still very much a stigma. I have never been able to get back on the housing ladder, despite the fact I am working hard and live within my means. The credit system needs reforming before it collapses.
ES, West Yorkshire

I'm still paying off my debts. I had Citizens Advice help some three years ago to get all the interest charges stopped and payment plans put in place. But at my current rate, I'll only be clear in some 15 years. The alternative was bankruptcy, but I wasn't too keen on that as it bars you from so many things and can make job-hunting far, far harder.

I'm 28, of course I'm in debt, I don't know a person my age who isn't. We own our own home, and have been affected by rate rises to the tune of 120 a month. We are getting married soon and would hope to start a family. However we feel it will become increasingly difficult to afford children, let alone a comfortable family home. We are working to clear loans, have no credit cards, and have 12 months on housing furniture credit. Our parents helped us out a lot, I pity those less fortunate!
Dave, Northumberland

It's too easy to get into debt. I now have defaults with one particular lender that isn't interested in working out payment by instalments. So I am having to contact the court before they do. I have to buy the cheapest of clothes and eat the 12p beans to live, but you can only learn from mistakes.
Chris, Edinburgh

At the age of 18, I was flooded with offers from student bank accounts, overdrafts, credit cards and store cards. Being young, naive and overwhelmed with the opportunity of all this cash, I took up almost every offer that was thrown my way - much to my deepest regret. I see now that I was extremely stupid, yet the way the interest-free overdrafts and "don't pay anything for 12 months" was sold to me, it was hard to resist. I finished university this year and I now have extreme amounts of debt. I let my overdrafts get overdrawn, and the charges have amounted to thousands. At the same time, my credit card charges have amounted to hundreds. And these are just a small example of the problem I am in. I am 22 and have been advised to declare bankruptcy. Devastated.
Jessica, Liverpool

I am rather ashamed to admit this, but I was so desperate to get money to pay off all my other debts, I lied to get a loan. When I received a letter from my bank saying I could apply for a 25,000 loan, I thought what the heck, I will give it a go. I never thought they would say yes! They asked me what my occupation was and how much I was making, to which I replied 23,000 a year - a lie. I am angry now that they let me take out that loan because if they had checked my bank statements they would see that I was on income support, and that my bank account at that time was well overdrawn. And I have been left to struggle to pay back 427 a month back! I am still on benefits and I hardly have any money left at all.
Susan, London

In June, I was forced to sell my home as I simply could not afford bills, credit card repayments etc. A loan was secured on my property which I had to clear upon completion, which left me with no equity. I am now living in rented accommodation and am still struggling. I have three credit cards which I simply cannot afford to repay, nor can I afford the minimum payments. Each creditor does not seem to care about my circumstances, just about being repaid. As I have been unable to repay any minimum payments, my credit rating has suffered and the chances of me obtaining a mortgage in the future are bleak. It is a day to day struggle financially and I constantly worry about debt. I have lost a home that I loved and am in debt, not a position I thought I would be in at 28 years old.
Lisa Butler, Manchester

I'm only 21 years old and already in more than 10,000 worth of debt. I even work for a bank! I just kept increasing my loans and overdrafts thinking that I could pay it back in the future, but now it has got to the point that I can't afford to have a social life. I'm even on anti-depressants now to help me with the stress. I am now having to go through a debt company. They will charge me monthly admin fees, but my repayments will be less as it is being stretched over a longer period of time. Anyone out there that is just turning 18 and can now get loans and credit cards - don't! If you haven't got it, don't spend it!
Sarah, Southampton

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