Household debt will hit £15,000 by 2020, warns TUC

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Household debt is set to reach a record high in the first year of the new government, a new report warns.

The TUC said wages have not recovered from the financial crisis, pushing the economy into the "danger zone".

Unsecured household debt will reach a record high of £13,900 per household this year and will exceed £15,000 by 2020, according to research by the union organisation.

The rise reflects the UK's ongoing living standards crisis, with wages worth around £20 a week less than a decade ago, said the TUC.

General secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The surge in household debt is putting the economy in the danger zone.

"We've got this problem because wages haven't recovered. Credit cards and payday loans are helping to prop up household spending for now, but millions of families are running on empty.

"The next government must act urgently to deliver the higher wages Britain needs for sustainable growth. They must boost the minimum wage, and end pay restrictions for public servants like nurses, firefighters and midwives.

"A lot more government support is needed for the parts of Britain where well-paid jobs are in short supply.

"Communities that lack good jobs today could thrive tomorrow if they get proper investment in training, transport links, broadband and decent housing."

The TUC said unsecured household debt is defined as including credit cards, student and car loans but not mortgages.

Mike O'Connor, chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said: "We are also seeing levels of unsecured debt rising for the first time since 2008 and the prospects are worrying.

"Based on April 2017 data, we estimate 8.8 million people turned to credit to pay for everyday household expenses over the past year.

"More than half of these were in employment, 41% in full time work. Stagnant wages and rising inflation are making more people vulnerable to problem debt."