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IFS: Britons prefer to secure their debt

29 January 2007
Secured debt has risen relative to unsecured debt in the UK over the last five years, a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found.

While total unsecured debt on credit cards or store cards fell as a share of household disposable incomes in the past two years to only 25 per cent, secured debt such as mortgages has risen to four times total incomes.

The report's author, Richard Disney, is sanguine about the impact rising debt levels will have on the majority of Britons, arguing that incomes have also risen, which eases the strain.

But he warned that indebtedness is more dangerous for the poorest in society, who can be vulnerable to exploitation by loan sharks charging interest rates of up to 400 per cent.

"Tenants, and lower income households generally, maintain a greater risk of running into difficulties with repayment," Mr Disney noted.

The government has today unveiled plans to roll out its comprehensive crackdown on loan sharks across several more cities in the UK.

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