The Money Charity presents a comprehensive snapshot of the UK’s financial landscape, offering insights into personal debt, housing trends, spending behaviors, and the evolving dynamics of financial inclusion.

Personal Debt in the UK

The burden of personal debt remains a significant concern, with UK residents collectively owing a staggering £1,838.7 billion as of January 2024. This translates to an average total debt per household, including mortgages, of £65,479, and per adult, £34,570, representing approximately 99.1% of average earnings. Notably, net mortgage lending increased by £354 million in the month, accompanied by a £656 million uptick in net consumer credit lending. Against this backdrop, Citizens Advice Bureaux witnessed a notable surge in enquiries, fielding 250,686 requests for assistance in February 2024, marking an 8.2% increase from the previous year.

Mortgages, Rent, and Housing

The housing sector continues to navigate dynamic shifts, with outstanding mortgage lending reaching £1,617 billion by January 2024. Despite a marginal annual decrease of -1.0%, the average house price for first-time buyers in Great Britain stood at £235,020. Meanwhile, private rental prices surged by 9.0% in the 12 months leading to February 2024, posing affordability challenges for tenants across the UK.

Spending and Loans

Financial inclusion remains a pertinent issue, with 1.1 million adults in the UK lacking access to a bank account, representing 2.1% of the adult population. Additionally, 3.1 million individuals reported relying predominantly on cash payments over the past 12 months, highlighting ongoing dependence on traditional payment methods. Furthermore, digital exclusion persists, with 1.5 million households lacking internet access as of March 2021, disproportionately affecting older demographics.

Addressing the Poverty Premium

Amidst these financial dynamics, Fair By Design underscores the enduring impact of the poverty premium, estimating its cost to a typical parliamentary constituency at £4.5 million annually. This translates to over £430 per year for low-income households, emphasising the need for targeted interventions to alleviate financial strain and promote equitable access to essential services.

As we navigate the complexities of the financial landscape in March 2024, it is imperative to remain vigilant, address systemic inequalities, and implement proactive measures to promote financial well-being and inclusion for all segments of society.

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Last Update: March 28, 2024