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Debts

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average level of unsecured personal debt per head of population was in the UK in each year since 1979. (245258)

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated January 2009:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question on what the average level of unsecured personal debt per head of population was in the UK in each year since 1979. (245258)

Statistics for this are available back to 1982 and are shown in the table. The time series in the table below has been derived by linking two different vintages of data together. This is explained in the footnote.

Currently the UK National Accounts are calculated in accordance with the international guidelines set out in the European System of Accounts 1995 (ESA95). In this framework the personal sector equates to the household sector which is combined with the non-profit institutions serving households sector (NPISH), and it is not possible to separate the two. Examples of institutions included within the NPISH sector are: charities; trade unions; universities; churches and political parties. Data on this basis are available back to 1987.

Table 1—Average level of unsecured personal debt per head of population in the UK

Personal debt per head of population (£)

1982

469

1983

552

1984

630

1985

746

1986

837

1987

989

1988

1,176

1989

1,354

1990

1,466

1991

1,478

1992

1,460

1993

1,420

1994

1,491

1995

1,584

1996

1,588

1997

1,781

1998

1,954

1999

2,145

2000

2,360

2001

2,679

2002

3,009

2003

3,156

2004

3,579

2005

3,767

2006

4,036

2007

4,176

Notes:

1. Estimates of household and NPISH unsecured debt are on an ESA95 basis. Similar statistics based on the European System of Accounts 1979 (ESA79) for the personal sector are on a slightly different definitional basis and are available back to 1982. A single series has been obtained by linking the two series together. The series based on ESA79 has been linked onto the series based on ESA95 using the growth rate between 1986 and 1987.

2. Mid year UK resident population estimates have been used to estimate the average unsecured personal debt per head of the population.

Source:

United Kingdom National Accounts—The Blue Book 1997

United Kingdom National Accounts—The Blue Book 2008