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Study: Personal debt in Britain has reached £1.4tn

Personal debt in Britain has reached £1.4 trillion, according to a report by an influential think tank.

According to a study by the Centre for Social Justice, around 3.9 million British families do not have enough savings to cover their rent or mortgage for more than a month.

Rising personal debt has become a "significant problem" for people in Britain, the report warned. Credit: Press Association

More than 26,000 UK households were accepted by councils as homeless in the last five years because of rent and mortgage arrears, including more than 5,000 last year, the think-tank said.

Its report, Maxed Out, said poor people were bearing the brunt of a "perfect storm" of rising living costs, falling real wages, low savings and expensive credit that has seen unsecured consumer debt almost triple in the last 20 years, reaching nearly £160 billion.


Advice for anyone who has borrowed from a loan shark

If you have borrowed from an unlicensed lender or 'loan shark' you have not broken the law, they have. Here are some sources of advice:

  • 24/7 confidential advice - 0300 555 2222
  • Text ‘loan shark and your message’ to 60003
  • Email
  • Send a Facebook message to

What are loan sharks and how do they operate?

Unlicensed lenders - often called 'loan sharks' - operate illegal money lending businesses without a licence from the Office of Fair Trading. Here are some clues for identifying them:

  • Rarely offers paperwork to keep borrowers unsure of how much they owe
  • Charge extortionate rates of interest (rates of 131,000% APR have been seen)
  • Add additional amounts to the debt so borrowers struggle to repay
  • Take items such as passports of bank cards as security
  • Employ extreme methods to reclaim their debts, including violence and intimidation

Source: England Illegal Money Lending Team

President Obama: America is 'not a deadbeat nation'

President Barack Obama has he would be willing to take over authority for raising the borrowing limit, saying the the US is "not a deadbeat nation".

Obama was asked at a news conference about differences he is having with congressional Republicans over raising the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling that the country is expected to hit as soon as the middle of next month.

"This is about paying your bills," he said. "We've got to stop lurching from crisis to crisis to crisis."


Public sector debt passes the trillion mark

In October Government spending continued to outstrip the amount of money it received in tax:

  • Total tax receipts were 1.8% higher at £47.5 billion, but total expenditure rose 7.4% to £52.8 billion
  • Tax revenues were dragged down by a drop in corporation tax, which fell 9.5% to £8.1 billion
  • Spending on social benefits, such as state pensions, jumped 7.7% to £16 billion
  • Public sector net debt now stands at £1.1 trillion
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