Six million Britons struggling after spending too much over festive season

January 7, 2015

Lucy_2 (Custom)By Lucy Palmer-Richeson.

One in eight Britons are in a financial bind after overspending during the Christmas period, according to a leading debt charity.

The Money Advice Trust said they expect their National Debt Helpline service will be in demand this month after a survey showed that 12% of the 2000 people polled said that they expected to fall behind with their finances during January after spending too much over Christmas.

However, just one in 100 people said that they were “very likely” to ask for help with managing debts. The Money Advice Trust said they fear many will leave it too late and will see further financial deterioration throughout the year.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the trust, said: “After a Christmas that millions of people put on credit, we are unfortunately expecting an increase in debt problems in the New Year. The fact that so many people went straight online for advice on Boxing Day shows how fragile many households feel their finances are going into 2015.

“Our New Year message is simple. If you are dreading the arrival of that first credit card bill in a couple of weeks, now is the time to act.

“Set a budget by working out how much you have coming in and how much you need to spend each month, and open all of your statements to get a handle on how much you owe.”

The survey findings coincide with an announcement this week that new UK consumer debt reached its highest level in seven years in November. Consumer helplines warned that Britons ran up debt to a total of more than £1.25bn in November by borrowing on credit cards, loans and overdrafts.

UK economist Harold Archer stated that the emergence of Black Friday in the UK was probably in part responsible for the high borrowing rates. He stated: “Relatively high consumer confidence means people have become more prepared to borrow in recent months.

“It also may well be that a significant amount of people have recently been borrowing more due to the squeeze on their purchasing power coming from extended low earnings growth.”

Mike O’Connor, chief executive of debt charity StepChange stated: “The economy is growing and there is some wage growth but it is very marginal and millions are living on a financial precipice leaving them vulnerable to financial shocks and strains.”

If you are struggling with debt following Christmas, speak to one of our expert advisors on 0800 072 6623 today.