title:UK Consumers Start Clawing Their Way Out Of The Financial Debt Pit author:Michael Hanna source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_5915.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:07 category:business_and_finance article:

Another year ended, and another round of UK debt statistics. CreditAction has just announced the latest summing up of the personal debt situation in the UK.
Their figures show that the end of 2005 has seen the total level of personal debt rise to an astounding ?1,158bn, an increase of ?100bn compared with the same time last year, and this debt is increasing at a rate of ?1m every 4 minutes.
These levels of debt affect everyone in the country, and have become a way of life. The average household debt is ?46,863 including mortgages or ?7,786 including overdrafts, finance deals, credit cards and unsecured loans, but excluding mortgages.
To break this down further; CreditAction report that the average UK adult owes ?4,125 excluding secured loans, or ?24,833 including mortgage loans.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) are seeing distressing signs from struggling consumers, as the rates of insolvencies, late credit card payments and mortgage repossession orders are all increasing. The Citizens Advice Bureau and Consumer Credit Counselling Service have both received record numbers of people calling their debt advisory services after finding they were struggling to pay back what they owe, with 9,310 calls taken during the first nine working days of 2006. One in 10 single people are reported by CreditAction as saying their finances are out of control, and according to a leading mental health expert, Dr Roger Henderson, 43% of the adult population in the UK are affected by money worries with 10.76m people suffering relationship problems because of their money worries.
The surge in those contacting the debt services for help has been put down as a positive effect by the National Debtline, as they have attributed it to an increase in public awareness on financial matters and a knowledge that help is available rather than a jump in the general debt levels.
The growth in consumer financial information in newspapers, television and websites like Moneynet (www.moneynet.co.uk) and The Motley Fool (www.fool.co.uk) has helped to raise the public awareness on many financial issues. Consumers can now find guides on financial services and can even quickly compare loans, credit cards, mortgages, insurance and other finance products on a like for like basis to obtain the best rates for services. This is making it more difficult for expensive finance providers to find customers, but as consumers become more finance savvy; many providers are seeking to protect their profits through alternative methods. Many credit card providers have started introducing charges for consumers changing credit card companies in an effort to reduce the threat that ?rate tarts? pose to their profits. The credit card and financial services are also cracking down on those who make late repayments, breach overdraft limits or try to repay their debts earlier than previously agreed.
The general pattern however from the most recent data from the Bank of England looks to be that the appetite for debt among consumers appears to be waning, and greater attention is being paid by consumers to their own personal finances. The fact that 2005 saw nearly one in twenty consumers racking up ?100+ in financial penalties and charges making up ?553m of unnecessary financial wastage going to the lenders, means that there is some way still to go if UK consumers are to regain control of the spiraling debt crisis.
Disclaimer:
All information contained in this article, is for general information purposes only and should not be construed as advice under the Financial Services Act 1986.
You are strongly advised to take appropriate professional and legal advice before entering into any binding contracts.
Useful resources:
Moneynet comparisons ( http://www.moneynet.co.uk )
The Motley Fool (www.fool.co.uk)

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