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Families owe average £14k as debt levels hit new high

HOUSEHOLD debt has hit a record high of more than £400billion, a new report reveals.

The TUC says families now owe an average of £14,540 to credit card firms, banks and other lenders.

That’s a £430 year-on-year increase per household.

The union blames government austerity policies, wage stagnation and more workers being in insecure jobs for the increase.

It says real wages are lower on average than before the 2008 financial crisis — when total unsecured debt was estimated at £286billion — giving many workers little choice other than to borrow to meet everyday financial costs.

General secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘It’s not about keeping up with the Joneses — this is hard-up families borrowing just to scrape by.

‘It’s money for paying the rent, heating the home and feeding the kids.’ She added: ‘The reason we’re seeing this is bad management of the economy.

‘Wages are still worth less than they were a decade ago. Too many people have insecure jobs with uncertain hours — and vital support, such as working tax credits, have been cut.

‘The government must put together an urgent plan to improve living standards and to help families struggling with dangerous levels of debt.’

The TUC study counted unsecured debt as bank loans, payday loans, credit cards, store cards and student loans.