Debt statistics

How much debt is the UK in?

Chris Lilly
by , Credit & Loans Publisher

Debt can have a significant impact on people’s lives, and on a country’s development as well – you have to take it into account every time you’re budgeting for something, planning a holiday or a new project.

With the UK finding its feet after the financial crash of 2007/08, many people are looking at consolidating their debt and lowering the interest they’re paying. 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?

  • £1.637 trillion is owed by individuals in the UK (June 2019)
  • On average every Brit spent £967 on interest alone last year
  • 350 people are declared bankrupt every day in the UK
  • £31,232 average debt per adult in the UK (June 2019)
  • There is over £1.8 trillion public sector debt in the UK (June, 2019)
  • This is equal to 83.1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)


Average debt of £31,232 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.

Personal Debt in the UK from 2012-2018

Year (Dec)Debt (Trillion £’s)

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 £50 billion based on April 2019 trends
  • Borrowers paid £139 million in interest a day in April 2019
  • Per household that is an average of £1,849 in annual interest repayments alone
  • Per person that is an average of £967 a year in interest repayments


Annual interest repayments of £967 represents 3.5% 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?

  • £217 billion outstanding consumer credit lending at the end of April 2019.
  • Up from £207.1 billion in December 2017.
  • Total credit card debt in June 2019 was £72.7 billion, up from £70.1 billion in December 2017
  • Per household this is £2,653 of credit card debt alone.

26 years and 9 months.

To pay back average credit card debt bearing the average interest, at the minimum repayment each month, it would take 26 years and 9 months, 6 months longer than in 2017.

Consumer credit lending in the UK from 2012-2018


Year (Dec)Debt (Billion £’s)
2019 (Apr)£217.0

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

  • 350 people are declared insolvent or bankrupt every day
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux dealt with 2,527 new debt problems every day in the year (May 2019)
  • 15 properties are repossessed every day
  • 1,213 people a day reported they had become redundant between January and March (2019)

4 minutes 7 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.

  • Public sector debt is calculated at £1.818 trillion in June 2019
  • UK GDP is over £2 trillion (£2.033 trillion)
  • Public sector debt is equal to 83.1% of GDP (June 2019)
  • This is down from 84.6% at the same time last year (June 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.

YearNet Debt (excluding public sector banks) as a % 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?

  • Japan have the highest level of debt as a percentage of GDP – at 236.6%
  • Greece has a debt of 176.9% of its GDP
  • The UK sits 28th 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?

  • 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

Government debt interest repayments £ billion

Government debt interest repayments £ billion

Year£ Billion% of GDP

Sources used

  • IMF
  • ONS
  • The Money Charity
  • OBR

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