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Debt Management (Commercial and Consumer) Market Report
Key Note Publications Ltd, January 2001
According to Bank of England statistics, the total volume of outstanding lending in the UK reached £1,114.2bn in 2000 - an increase of almost 40% since 1996.
The largest increase has been in the growth of consumer credit, and in particular credit card borrowing. UK citizens spend more as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) on plastic than in any other country in Europe.
In 1998, the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act was introduced to help businesses. The legislation has already been extended, and further expansion is due. In August 2000, a new EU directive on late payment was issued, and the Better Payment Practice Group (Bppg) is already working with the Government's Small Business Service on its future implementation.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has recently reported a sharp increase in debt problems, fuelling fears that people are being encouraged to borrow more than they can afford. The problems created by mounting consumer debt are at last beginning to gain more recognition in the UK and throughout Europe.
A full investigation into current marketing and lending practices is underway, designed to improve the quality of information given to consumers, and ensure responsible lending decisions by all lenders. More attention is being devoted to the better education of consumers and the improved trading standards needed from suppliers and the providers of financial services.
Key Note forecasts that the total outstanding lending in the UK will increase by 18.1% between 2001 and 2005.