Citizens Advice responds to August’s Bank of England Money and Credit statistics
The Bank of England’s figures revealed the annual growth rate of consumer credit grew 8.5% in July.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“The level of consumer credit is still growing quickly so it is important the Financial Conduct Authority makes sure lending is affordable.
“However, not included in these figures is the £19 billion of hidden debt households across the UK owe to councils, government and essential service providers such as utility companies.
“Policymakers have been rightly concerned about the scale of consumer credit debt, but there is an air of institutional indifference as far as household bill debts are concerned.
“The government can only start to get a proper understanding of people’s financial difficulties once it starts to measure this kind of debt more accurately and publish that figure annually.”
Citizens Advice research released last week revealed households across the UK owe an estimated £18.9 billion to essential service providers and government.
This includes tax credit overpayments of £7.5 billion, £2.8 billion owed to local authorities in council tax arrears, and £2.2 billion owed to water companies.
Household debt has now overtaken consumer credit as the key money problem people bring to Citizens Advice.
Last year we helped people with 690,000 household bill debt problems, compared to 350,000 consumer credit issues.
Notes to editors
Citizens Advice is made up of a network of local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and the national charity Citizens Advice.
Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers.
Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and postal markets. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.
The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free and independent support for both prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.
Citizens Advice also offers Pension Wise appointments at 500 locations across England and Wales.
The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit
You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
Last year we helped over 2.7 million people face to face, by phone, email or web chat. For full service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.
Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.