The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 21st December 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government what records they keep of the rate of (1) credit use, and (2) problem debt; and what assessment they have made of the effects of these on the UK population.
Lord Harlech (Con): The Government monitors the rate of credit use and problem debt by working closely with the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as well as by engaging with the debt advice sector and other relevant stakeholders on their research and findings.
The FCA conducts a biennial Financial Lives Survey which provides a comprehensive insight into the finances, including consumer credit product usage, of the UK population. The latest ‘snapshot’ findings from their survey were published on 21 October 2022 and can be found on their website.
Retrospective analysis of trends in consumer credit product usage is also produced by other organisations, including as part of the Bank of England’s monthly statistical releases. Recent Bank of England data shows that net consumer credit lending has shown some increase in recent months but remains close to the levels seen in 2019.
MaPS monitors levels of problem debt through an annual survey of 22,000 individuals. MaPS published its latest data on 23 February 2022, which can also be found on their website. This includes a regional breakdown of how the need for debt advice has changed since 2019 across the UK.