The growth in borrowing by consumers appears to be slowing amid a squeeze on households according to the Bank of England’s latest consumer statistics. The annual rate of growth for consumer borrowing through credit cards, overdrafts and personal loans decreased to 9.8% in July, the lowest rate of expansion since April 2016. The growth rate was a little weaker than in recent months, when the pace of expansion was above 10%.
Responding to the Bank of England’s Money and Credit July 2017 statistical release, Peter Tutton, Head of Policy at StepChange Debt Charity, said “With stagnant wages and rising inflation squeezing household incomes further, a slight decrease in the rate of growth for consumer credit is no sign of relief. These latest figures show overall consumer credit is rising by nearly 10% annually and with people now getting into debt at a younger age and an estimated 8.8 million turning to credit to meet essential living costs, we must remain vigilant that a credit bubble is not history repeating.”
“As the gap between living costs and wages risks getting wider, the Financial Conduct Authority must tackle irresponsible and bad lending practices which can land people into problem debt and financial difficulty. With the issue of affordability now on regulator’s agenda, it’s now a crucial time to ensure lenders are acting sustainably and responsibly, carrying out robust affordability checks and intervening quickly to help people struggling.”