Debt statistics UK
How much debt is the UK in?
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?
- £1,685 billion is owed by individuals in the UK (September 2020).
- On average every Brit spent £865 on interest alone last year.
- 280 people are declared bankrupt every day in the UK (August to October 2020).
- £31,798 average debt per adult in the UK (August 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 £31,798 per adult, is 110% of average earnings
Personal debt statistics
Personal debt is the money owed by individuals. It could be from a mortgage, credit card, for example. We looked into how much is owed by the UK population. In August 2020, people in the UK owed £1.685 trillion. This is up by £23.4 billion from £1.669 trillion at the end of September 2019, an extra £441 per UK adult over the year.
|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 £45.4 billion based on August 2020 trends.
- Borrowers paid £124 million in interest a day in September 2020.
- Per household that is an average of £1,630 in annual interest repayments alone.
- Per person that is an average of £857 a year in interest repayments.
Annual interest repayments of £857 represents 3% 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?
- £206.7 billion outstanding consumer credit lending at the end of August.
- This is a decrease of £10.9 billion since September 2019.
- Total credit card debt in August 2020 was £61.4 billion, a 15.1% decrease in the year.
- Per household this is £2,204 of credit card debt alone.
25 years and 4 months
To pay back average credit card debt bearing the average interest, at the minimum repayment each month, it would take 25 years and 4 months
Consumer credit lending in the UK from 2012–2020
|Year (November)||Debt (billion)|
How big of a problem is debt to individuals in the UK?
- 280 people are declared insolvent or bankrupt every day.
- Citizens Advice dealt with 1,960 new debt problems every day in the year (to September 2020).
- 14 properties are repossessed every day (Q4 2019). In 2020 (Q2), one property per day was possessed, but this number is low due to the pandemic-related moratorium on forced possessions.
- 3,413 people a day reported they had become redundant between July and September (2020).
Every 5 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?
- Japan has the highest level of debt as a percentage of GDP, at 266%.
- Sudan has a debt of 259% of its GDP.
- The UK sits 16th 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
Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:
- Budgeting app Emma launches commission-free stock trading
- Historical inflation rate vs savings account rates
- Emergency fund: What it is and how to build one
- Millionaire calculator: How long would it take to save a million?
- Paying tax on interest from a savings account
- Compare the best 3-year fixed-rate bonds UK 2022
More guides on Finder
Average student loan debt UK
A range of interesting statistics on student loan debt in the UK
Landbay: Peer-to-Peer Lending and Borrowing
Explore the alternative investment options on offer with Landbay. The property backed P2P provider might be the right option for you.
Rebuildingsociety.com: Peer-to-peer lending and borrowing
Rebuildingsociety.com is challenging the finance industry. Could you be part of the borrowing revolution?
Growth Street: peer-to-peer lending and borrowing
Growth street offer peer-to-peer lending and borrowing. Find out if there platform is right for you.
Octopus Choice: peer-to-peer lending and borrowing
Whether you’re looking to borrow or invest, find out if Octopus Choice peer-to-peer lending is the right platform for you.
Payday loan statistics
A closer look at the facts and figures of payday loans
Ask an Expert