4th December 2018

Consumer spending, and debt, likely to increase as we head toward Christmas
Opinion

George Robbins, director of financial services at TransUnion (formerly Callcredit), commenting on the recent Bank of England Money and Credit stats, and what that means for consumer debt, said:

“The October credit and money statistics from the Bank of England showed that consumer credit increased by £0.9bn, in a similar vein to the previous few months. Whilst this is lower than we’ve seen in much of the period over the past couple of years, it is likely to increase as we head toward the Christmas season, with all the additional spending that brings – and the bigger picture remains one of high consumer debt in the UK.

“With UK Finance revealing that more consumers than ever are using their credit cards for everyday spending, rather than just one-off purchases, the Christmas rush is going to be a test of good lending practices. Credit providers should be using all the tools at their disposal to ensure lending is responsible and that consumers aren’t overburdening themselves.

“The Bank of England statistics also showed that mortgage market activity was broadly stable in October, with 67,000 approvals for house purchases and mortgage lending of £4.1bn.

"This is heartening as it suggest that the looming uncertainty of Brexit isn’t deterring buyers from stepping onto, or up, the property ladder, but again it’s essential that mortgage providers are confident that these buyers have been sufficiently stress-tested and can evidence affordability both now, and in the future.”