One in three adults in debt distress

Nearly one in three UK adults are concerned about their ability to manage their personal debt in the face of a recession shows research from MoneyExpert.com.

Despite the economic slowdown now hitting household finances across the country 27% of those owing money have gone further into the red in the last three months, the independent financial comparison website says.

Around 4%, the equivalent to nearly 1.8 million people – have increased their debts by more than 20% in just three months.

The research shows 17% of people have been able to decrease their debt exposure with 27% keeping their debt levels constant.

Sean Gardner, director of MoneyExpert.com, says: “Household finances are feeling the strain across the board with people struggling to keep their heads above water.

“It is extremely worrying that so many people are concerned about managing their debts. Nothing’s so stark as a reminder that many of us are struggling to repay the money we owe.

“The Bank of England has slashed interest rates and the government has bailed out the banks but there are few signs that the cost of borrowing is falling. There may be light at the end of the tunnel but for too many of us it seems the light is a train coming down the tracks.”

The research reveals that those likely to have recently got onto the housing ladder – those between the ages of 25 and 44 – are most likely to be concerned about their ability to repay their debt.

Around 37% of people in this age bracket described themselves as either concerned or very concerned about their debt burden. Only 21% of those over 55 were similarly worried.

Sean Gardner adds: “With talk of record national debt it can seem that we’re all in for the long haul, but there’s no reason for those with personal debt not to take steps to tackle their own. Methods such as debt consolidation, or simply moving borrowing onto cheaper products can all be appropriate means of lessening the burden.

“The crucial thing, though, is to structure a repayment plan, and not simply bury your head in the sand.”