Hidden debts of almost £19 billion for UK households

Blog Debt

Figures from Citizens Advice revealed that British households owe almost £19 billion in missed council tax payments, utility bills, and overpaid benefits.

For the first time, there has been an estimate from the Citizens Advice on the overall amount owed by people who are falling behind on essential bills.

UK households are under increasing financial pressure, with missed bills overtaking credit card troubles as the key money problems for consumers, Citizens Advice said.

Using Government records and its own estimates from helping more than 690,000 people with household bill troubles last year, Citizens Advice said that as much as £18.9 billion was owed to the Government and utility companies for bills such as water, gas, and electricity, as well as unpaid taxes and fines.

There is a growing concern about the rapid growth in personal borrowing on credit cards, loans, and overdrafts in the UK resulting in levels unseen since the financial crisis.

Even though the Bank of England tracks the rise in borrowing from high street banks, there is no one responsible for figures for missed bill payments.

Consumer borrowing reached £213 billion in June, rising much faster than workers’ pay, Threadneedle Street said.

Since the Brexit vote, there has been a high level of inflation that has pushed up the cost of living in Britain, with sluggish wage growth and Government benefit cuts there is an additional squeeze on households.

Citizens Advice estimates the total value of missed bill payments has risen by 34 per cent since 2010.

Due to this, it has called on the Government to commit to measure and report on the levels of household debt on an annual basis, enforce tighter regulations of the bailiff industry and provide greater protections for people struggling with their bills.