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The FCA must step in to curb the rise of consumer debt, says Citizens Advice

30 October 2017

Today the Bank of England consumer credit statistics show that consumer borrowing has risen by 9.9% in the year to September 2017, now totalling £204 billion.

With speculation rising about the Bank of England increasing interest rates, Citizens Advice is urging the Financial Conduct Authority to take action now to help people who are already struggling to repay their debts.

Earlier this month, the FCA revealed that half of people are financially vulnerable and 8 million are already over-indebted. The charity is now calling for the regulator to step in to curb the growth in consumer debt.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“The rise and rise of consumer debt is a cause for alarm at a time when large numbers of people are already in financial difficulty.

“The FCA must step in to curb the worrying rise in debt - by banning credit card firms from pushing more credit onto people who haven’t asked for it, and compelling them to offer support sooner when it’s clear people can’t pay.

“The FCA’s own research shows that 8 million people are already struggling with debt  - leaving them vulnerable to falling into a debt spiral should interest rates rise or a life change sets them back on their repayments.

“It’s essential that the regulator and credit card companies act together to prevent people getting stuck with ever-growing debts that they can’t afford to repay.”

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Notes to editors

  1. The Financial Conduct Authority’s Financial Lives Survey found that half of people are “financially vulnerable” and 8 million are over-indebted. Published October 18 2017.
  2. Citizens Advice “Stuck in debt” research found that 1 in 5 people struggling to pay their credit card debt were given further credit they didn’t ask for.
  3. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  4. 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.
  5. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
  6. 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.
  7. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
  8. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.