How much debt is the UK in?
Updated . What changed?
Debt can have a significant impact on people’s lives and on a country’s development as well. With the ongoing economic uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, many people are looking at consolidating their debt, whether through secured loans, balance transfer credit cards or remortgaging – and lowering the interest they’re paying. We explore how much debt the UK is in, both as a country and as individuals. Is the UK out of its depth or staying above water?
How much debt is the UK in?
- £1.680 trillion is owed by individuals in the UK (January 2020)
- On average every Brit spent £969 on interest alone last year
- 318 people are declared bankrupt every day in the UK (October to December 2019)
- £31,845 average debt per adult in the UK (January 2020)
- There is over £1.95 trillion public sector debt in the UK (May 2020)
- This is equal to 100% of gross domestic product (GDP) – the first time that debt as a percentage of GDP has exceeded 100% since the financial year ending March 1963
Average debt of £31,845 per adult, is 112% of average earnings
Personal debt statistics
Personal debt is the money owed by individuals. It could be from a mortgage, credit card or short term loan, for example. We looked into how much is owed by the UK population.
|Year||Total debt (trillion)|
How much interest is being paid on debt?
These stats show just how much interest is costing the UK.
- Total interest payments on personal debt is over £51.1 billion based on January 2020 trends
- Borrowers paid £140 million in interest a day in January 2020
- Per household that is an average of £1,836 in annual interest repayments alone
- Per person that is an average of £969 a year in interest repayments
Annual interest repayments of £969 represents 3.4% of average earnings
How big is consumer credit lending in the UK?
Consumer credit lending is the amount of borrowing done on credit – but can we afford to pay it back?
- £224.9 billion outstanding consumer credit lending at the end of January
- This is an increase of £560 million since December 2019
- Total credit card debt in January 2020 was £72.1 billion, a 0.3% decrease in the year to January 2019
- Per household this is £2,595 of credit card debt alone
26 years and 8 months
To pay back average credit card debt bearing the average interest, at the minimum repayment each month, it would take 26 years and 8 months
Consumer credit lending in the UK from 2012–2019
|Year (November)||Debt (Billions)|
How big of a problem is debt to individuals in the UK?
- 318 people are declared insolvent or bankrupt every day
- Citizens Advice dealt with 2,618 new debt problems every day in the year (to February 2020)
- 14 properties are repossessed every day (Q4 2019)
- 1,152 people a day reported they had become redundant between September and November (2019)
4 minutes, 17 seconds
Every 4 minutes a person is declared insolvent/bankrupt in the UK
National debt statistics
National debt is the debt owed by the government of a country, as a result of a budget deficit. This is where government spending exceeds government revenue, often resulting in government borrowing.
|Year||Public Sector Net Debt as a percentage of GDP|
How does this debt compare to other countries
This level of debt may seem worryingly high, but how does the UK compare to other countries around the world?
- Sudan has the highest level of debt as a percentage of GDP, at 295%
- Japan has a debt of 252% of its GDP
- The UK sits 18th in the world for highest debt/GDP ratio
Borrowing money often incurs interest, even as a government. So how much is interest on the national debt costing the UK?
- In 2018/19, £48.7 billion was spent on interest repayments
- This amounts to 2.3% of the UK’s GDP
- 2017/18 represented the largest interest repayment of £55 billion
|Year||Debt Interest Payments (Gross, £ billion)||As a percentage of GDP|
Figures from 2019/20 onwards are forecasted
- The Money Charity
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