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Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 02:19 GMT 03:19 UK
Tories warn of 'credit card' UK
The shadow chancellor will call for imaginative solutions
Britain is becoming a "credit card" nation where personal debt is threatening millions of families and the economy, say the Tories.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne says the increased availability of credit had many advantages but it could cause financial misery.

He will tell the Credit Today conference in London that imaginative solutions to the problem are needed.

Three million people had problems paying off debt last year, he says.

In his speech, Mr Osborne will say: "As in many markets, liberalised credit markets have boosted our freedom and boosted our economy.

"But as well as these great advantages, the expansion of credit has brought challenges. First, for some, especially vulnerable families, too much debt can cause misery and great financial hardship.

"And second, high levels of debt, both public and private, make the economy more vulnerable to certain types of shock, and may put macro-economic stability at risk.

"For families, and for the wider economy, more debt means more vulnerability."

Mr Osborne will not offer any detailed solutions but he is expected to suggest broad themes for tackling the problem.

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