More families than ever in Britain have to borrow money to support their everyday lives, a report published Sunday said.
The country’s top trade union organisation, the TUC, said new analysis showed that household debt rose sharply over 2016, with unsecured debt (debt other than house mortgages) reaching new highs.
The TUC said unsecured debt reached an average 12,877 pounds (15,900 U.S. dollars) per household in the third quarter of 2016.
This is 1,117 pounds (1,375U.S.dollars) higher than a year earlier, the highest annual increase since at least 1997, added the TUC.
The organisation, which represents millions of workers, says weak wage growth and higher inflation will leave more families struggling with debt this year unless help comes from the government.
According to the TUC, weaker growth in salaries and wages has left more families reliant on borrowing to support their living standards.
The analysis also found that the total of unsecured debt rose to 349 billion pounds (429 billion U.S. dollars) in the third quarter of 2016, a record high, and well above the 290 billion pounds (357 billion U.S. dollars) peak in 2008 ahead of the financial crisis.
Unsecured debt as a share of household income is now 27.4 per cent, the highest it has been for eight years.