Debt crisis "ebbs" with strong economy

05 June 2004
Britain's economy appears strong even though credit card debt is up 61 per cent.

Statistics collected over the past five-years show a strong economy with lower base rates and historically lower unemployment. Yet since the first quarter of 1999 credit card debt has significantly risen by 61 per cent.

Malcolm Hurlston, the chairman of Britain's leading debt charity, the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, said: "It is clear that Britain's 'debt crisis' is ebbing under the impact of strongly favourable economic conditions."

The average debt of people starting a repayment programme with CCCS has risen by 32 per cent but CCCS did lower its repayment threshold in 2002 in order to help more people.

However, average earnings are up as well by 27 per cent and unemployment is down by 1.4 per cent.

People appear to be feeling financially more confident. The social trend towards plastic has developed over the period with the result that cards are being used for an increasing proportion of consumer spending.

Mr Hurlston continued: "Growth in borrowing has fuelled consumer-led economic success and people in financial difficulty are coming to CCCS with higher debts outstanding. But people supported by repayment plans are finding it easier to continue their repayments than they were five years ago."

Research has shown that the number of people calling CCCS for help over the past five years has quadrupled from 3,700 in April 1999 to 15,000 in April 2004.