Consumers believe they can handle £1 trillion debt

03 August 2004
New figures show that the British public is confident it can handle the landmark £1 trillion debt that it has built up.

The research, compiled for Nationwide Building Society, shows that 95 per cent of people have comfortably enough to meet their mortgage repayments, with just one in 50 regularly having difficulties.

Mortgage debt makes up more than 80 per cent of the £1 trillion figure.

The rest of the debt is also not a big concern to the British public.

Almost three out of every four people questioned (74 per cent) will typically have enough money to make the repayments on their borrowing, with just over one in ten (11 per cent) having difficulties on a regular basis.

And 42 per cent of people plan to cut back on their non-mortgage borrowing over the next six months.

Nationwide claims this demonstrates a "confident but cautious" attitude about debt on the part of the British public.

Stuart Bernau, Nationwide's executive director, said of the results: "Our research shows consumers remain confident about their ability to manage debt, but are also wary about taking on more unsecured debt in the future.

"It seems clear that most people believe they are not over-extending themselves, that they are comfortable dealing with their finances and that they believe their financial future, in the main, is steady and secure."