Aside from raising the spectre of getting a credit rating downgrade, this grim statistic also marks the longest period of recession that the country has experienced in the last century (excepting the two World Wars, which even so saw dramatic recovery afterwards).
Despite welcome investment in the UK from the Japanese car industry, the poor consumer is being shuffled into the cross-hairs, with the Chancellor saying that higher consumer spending was needed in order to boost the economy.
It’s disappointing that after admonishing the UK public for the 1.4 trillion pounds of personal debt, politicians are now encouraging people to spend more just as (a) they can least afford it and (b) by the evidence of some independent surveys, are doing the right thing and cutting back on their debt.
It seems disingenuous (at best) to suggest that people take on more personal debt just to help the country get out of its own. Right now people are largely being sensible, trying to live within their means and also seeking to put aside savings. Apart from some tactical use of credit cards to improve credit rating (and gain access to cheaper forms of credit), people simply don’t feel wealthy enough to be lavishing money in the economy.
After calling for national austerity measures, cutting back on benefits and writing off large tax bills for wealthy corporations, is it really the responsibility of the public to ignore the hard work they have put into being financially secure?