House of Lords, Thursday November 3rd: Oral Question On Levels Of Personal DebtLord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench)
Has the Minister seen the latest figures for personal debt, showing that a staggering £1,450 billion is owed in personal debt by the nation at the present time? If it is right-and it is-to reduce national debt, should we not be doing far more to help families who are massively in debt in Britain today, especially through the promotion of credit unions?
Baroness Wilcox (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Business, Innovation and Skills; Conservative)
We have tried and continue to try to see how we can get people to set up credit unions. They are so popular in America, Australia, Canada and Ireland, but we just do not seem to like them in this country. However, we are continuing to struggle to do that. The noble Lord is right about total household debt: £1.45 trillion is an enormous figure, but of that £1.24 trillion is owed on mortgages. We are a real country for buying our own houses and taking out mortgages. The amount left over is the money owed on personal loans, credit cards and high-cost credit. For this, we must make absolutely sure that people have the right information before they get themselves into difficult situations.