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U.K. households see debt as burdensome, despite falling consumer debt

credit-card-finance21Despite numbers that reflect falling household debt in the U.K., half of all U.K. households indicated that their debt was burdensome, and experts maintain that rising living costs and stagnant wages are part of the problem.

“Stagnating wages and rising living costs continue to push household budgets beyond breaking point, and the financial torture facing many households shows little sign of abating,” Delroy Corinaldi, the external affairs director at StepChange Debt Charity, said, according to The Telegraph.

Recent figures from the Bank of England revealed that families are paying down debt, with consumer credit falling by $594 million in December to $326 million, the largest decrease since 1993 and the first time households paid off personal debt over Christmas. Other data revealed that the U.K. household saving ratio had risen to 7.7 percent, an increase from 3.3 percent in 2000 and an indication that families have begun to save rather than spend.

New data from the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics, however, revealed that the average U.K. household owed $5,040 on credit cards, overdrafts and loans between 2008 and 2010. Christians Against Poverty, a debt advice organization, said that Monday was their busiest day on record.

“When the New Year comes along, people long for that fresh start, to find some order and, over Christmas, they’ve had time to find the courage to do it,” CAP CEO Matt Barlow said, The Telegraph reports. “There is a simplistic generalization that people give their credit cards a hammering at Christmas, end up with debt problems and call organizations like ours for help in January. The truth behind the stats is more complex and concerning.”

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