Caution Urged as Spend-happy Brits Attempt to Consolidate Debt

By: Elisha Burberry

Britons are becoming more comfortable with taking on debt, it has?been claimed. According to the official spokesperson for Moneysupermarket, Britons who slip into the red are more comfortable with the situation now than they would have been 40 years ago.

As a way of consolidating debt and reducing repayments, a number of consumers decide to take out a personal loan - although research by the price comparison website has shown that this practice often causes problems.

However, rather than cautioning against taking out personal loans to consolidate debt, the spokesperson insisted that the solution was a useful and effective way of managing finances - the only proviso being that consideration is taken before a loan is taken out.

The note of caution was sounded following the publication of a report which shows that over eight million people who choose to consolidate debt end up taking on even more - while five million people claim they will never be free from debt-related problems.

Specifically, the Moneysupermarket survey found that 12.7 million people in the UK have taken out a loan to consolidate all or some of their debt - yet 8.4 million have subsequently been saddled with more.

This has had an adverse effect on the cost of personal loans, as banks are becoming increasingly concerned about the number of customers defaulting on their payments and are therefore tightening lending criteria and upping rates.

Figures released by Credit Action show that UK personal debt stood at ?1,355 billion at the end of July - up 10.1 per cent on the previous year's figure. Meanwhile, average consumer borrowing via credit cards, motor and retail finance deals, overdrafts and unsecured personal loans stood at ?4,515 per average UK adult at the end of that month.

Debt consolidation is not the only reason that consumers choose to take out a personal loan, though - a growing number are financing home improvements by taking out a loan with a view to increasing the value of their homes.

This market fluctuates according to season, with peaks seen in March and September. Yet more customers decide to take out a loan in order to buy a car - although debt consolidation is the most often cited factor. While none of the above reasons are invalid, the Moneysupermarket spokesperson took time to stress once again that loans should only be taken out if they can be repaid.

Debt Consolidation
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Debt Consolidation