Average personal debt in the UK has more than doubled in the last 12 months to over £25,000 per person, new data has revealed.
Six in ten consumers admitted to being currently in debt, not counting mortgages, with the average amount owed in the UK in 2021 coming in at £25,879 per person – more than double the figure in 2020 (£9,246).
Almost a third (32 per cent) of debt incurred this year has been due to living expenses such as bills and food, down from 35 per cent last year, while the coronavirus pandemic accounted for another 32 per cent, down from 36 per cent in 2020.
Notably, the number of people citing redundancy as a result of coronavirus as the reason for their debt has jumped from 7.8 per cent last year, to 10 per cent in 2021, which is a possible outcome of the furlough scheme coming to an end on September 30th.
The data reveals that men (£35,013) have more than twice the debt of women (£14,911), while Brits aged between 35-44 have more debt than any other age group, averaging £53,283 per person.
Commenting on the findings, James Andrews, senior personal finance editor at money.co.uk, said: “Given the challenges faced by consumers in the past 12 months, it’s no surprise personal debt is high, but for it to more than double in a year to £25,879 a person is extreme.
“Almost two years on, nearly a third of consumers still attribute their losses to the pandemic, while a fraction more say that living costs are the main cause of their debt.
“This will come as no surprise to anyone who has tried to change their gas or electricity supplier or filled up their car in the past few months; prices are at an all time high and show no signs of dropping in the foreseeable future.
“If you’re struggling with multiple types of debt, putting the most important debts first is key. Missing repayments on secured debts, such as a mortgage, may result in your home being repossessed while not paying council tax can result in you being put in prison. These should be top of the list.
“If you would like help prioritising, or are struggling to meet payments, there are free services available that will help you review your finances. Citizens Advice will offer free, impartial advice, or alternatively you can contact a debt charity like Step Change who will be able to offer support.”