Debt Statistics

How much debt is the UK in?

24 Apr 2018
With the UK finding its feet after the financial crash of 2007/08, we explore how much debt the UK is in – both as a country and as individuals. Are we out of our depth or are we staying above water?

Quick overview

How much debt is the UK in?

  • £1.578 trillion is owed by individuals in the UK (February 2018).
  • £1,106 extra debt per adult in December 2017 compared to December 2016.
  • £30,537 average debt per adult in the UK (February 2018).
  • £1,790.4 billion public sector debt in the UK.
  • This is equal to 87.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

114%

Average debt of £30,386 per adult, is 114% 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.

Personal Debt in the UK from 2012-2017.

Year (Dec)Debt (Trillion £’s)
2012£1.421
2013£1.430
2014£1.460
2015£1.456
2016£1.508
2017£1.562

How much interest is being paid on debt?


These stats show just how much interest is costing the UK.

  • Total interest payment was over £50 billion in a 12 month period up to February 2018.
  • Per day that is an average of £139 million.
  • Per household that is an average of £1,866 in annual interest repayments alone.
  • Per person that is an average of £981 a year in interest repayments.

3.67%

Annual interest repayments of £981 represents 3.67% 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?

  • £207.1 billion outstanding consumer credit lending at the end of December 2017.
  • Up from £193.11 billion in 2016.
  • Per household this represent £7,616 in consumer credit debt.
  • Total credit card debt in December 2017 was £70.1 billion.
  • Per household this is £2,579 of credit card debt.

26 years and 3 months.

To pay back average credit card debt bearing the average interest, at the minimum repayment each month, it would take 26 years and 3 months.

Consumer credit lending in the UK from 2012-2018.


consumer-credit-lending

Year (Dec)Debt (Billion £’s)
2012£156.0
2013£158.6
2014£168.0
2015£177.1
2016£190.1
2017£205.3
2018 (Feb)£207.1

How big of a problem is debt to individuals in the UK?

  • 276 people are declared insolvent or bankrupt every day.
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux dealt with 4,322 new debt problems every day during the month of October in 2017.
  • 18 properties are repossessed every day.
  • 1,109 people a day reported they had become redundant between November and January (2018).

6 minutes 13 seconds.

Every 6 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.

  • Public sector debt is calculated at £1.798.0 trillion in March 2018.
  • UK GDP is over £2 trillion (£2.0532 trillion).
  • Public sector debt is equal to 86.3% of GDP (March 2018).
  • Compared to public sector debt of 35.9% in 2007 (pre financial crash).

National debt as a percentage of GDP.

National debt as a percentage of GDP.

Year (quarter)% of GDP
1993 Q129.0
1993 Q230.5
1993 Q332.0
1993 Q432.3
1994 Q133.9
1994 Q235.3
1994 Q336.3
1994 Q436.5
1995 Q137.5
1995 Q238.5
1995 Q339.1
1995 Q438.8
1996 Q139.2
1996 Q239.8
1996 Q340.0
1996 Q439.8
1997 Q136.9
1997 Q238.4
1997 Q338.1
1997 Q437.7
1998 Q136.7
1998 Q236.9
1998 Q336.3
1998 Q435.7
1999 Q135.0
1999 Q235.2
1999 Q334.2
1999 Q434.4
2000 Q132.5
2000 Q231.0
2000 Q329.3
2000 Q429.6
2001 Q128.4
2001 Q228.8
2001 Q328.0
2001 Q428.6
2002 Q127.7
2002 Q228.1
2002 Q327.9
2002 Q429.6
2003 Q129.0
2003 Q229.0
2003 Q329.2
2003 Q430.5
2004 Q130.2
2004 Q231.8
2004 Q332.0
2004 Q433.3
2005 Q132.7
2005 Q233.3
2005 Q333.4
2005 Q434.5
2006 Q133.7
2006 Q234.7
2006 Q334.5
2006 Q435.1
2007 Q134.5
2007 Q235.1
2007 Q334.9
2007 Q435.9
2008 Q135.4
2008 Q237.5
2008 Q342.7
2008 Q447.6
2009 Q150.1
2009 Q254.3
2009 Q355.8
2009 Q460.5
2010 Q164.6
2010 Q266.7
2010 Q368.3
2010 Q470.7
2011 Q171.4
2011 Q272.9
2011 Q373.8
2011 Q475.3
2012 Q175.1
2012 Q276.2
2012 Q376.7
2012 Q478.6
2013 Q178.6
2013 Q279.7
2013 Q379.8
2013 Q480.8
2014 Q180.5
2014 Q281.7
2014 Q382.1
2014 Q483.5
2015 Q182.9
2015 Q283.7
2015 Q383.6
2015 Q483.8
2016 Q182.6
2016 Q282.8
2016 Q382.6
2016 Q484.7
2017 Q185.6
2017 Q286.5
2017 Q387.2
2017 Q485.4

How does this debt compare to other countries


This level of debt may seem worrying, especially as it is at it’s highest level in recent history. But how does the UK compare to other countries around the world?

  • Japan have the highest level of debt as a percentage of GDP – at 223.8%.
  • Greece and Italy both have debt above 100% of their GDP, at 180.0% and 131.2% respectively.
  • Germany on the other hand, has a debt of 65.7% of GDP.
  • The UK sits 26th in the world for highest debt/GDP ratio.

Debt interest

Borrowing money often incurs interest, even as a government. So how much is interest on the national debt costing the UK?

  • Government debt interest repayments are set to hit their highest amount in recent history.
  • Government predictions suggest payments of £68 billion in 2017-18.
  • As a percentage of National Income, 2% is being spent on interest repayments.

Government debt interest repayments £ billion

government debt interest repayments

Government debt interest repayments £ billion

YearDebt interest repayments £ billion
1993-9420
1994-9523
1995-9626
1996-9728
1997-9829
1998-9929
1999-0025
2000-0126
2001-0222
2002-0321
2003-0422
2004-0524
2005-0626
2006-0728
2007-0830
2008-0931
2009-1030
2010-1145
2011-1247
2012-13e47
2013-14e49
2014-15e52
2015-16e57
2016-17e62
2017-18e68

Government interest repayments as a percentage of National Income

Government interest repayments as a percentage of National Income

YearPercentage of National Income
1989-902.5
1990-912.2
1991-921.9
1992-932.1
1993-942.3
1994-952.6
1995-962.8
1996-972.8
1997-982.8
1998-992.6
1999-002.2
2000-012
2001-021.7
2002-031.5
2003-041.5
2004-051.5
2005-061.5
2006-071.7
2007-081.6
2008-091.6
2009-101.4
2010-112.2
2011-122.2
2012-131.9
2013-141.8
2014-151.5
2015-161.6
2016-171.8
2017-182
2018-192
2019-201.9
2020-211.8

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