More has to be done by regulators and companies to stop the rapidly rising levels of personal debt, a leading charity has warned.
Citizens Advice has reported a 20 per cent increase in the number of debt queries its bureaux dealt with during 2006-07, a total of 1.7 million debt issues.
It has called for action on irresponsible lending, citing examples in which troubled debtors were given credit they could not manage and then hit with the additional costs of payment protection insurance.
Director of public policy Teresa Perchard said: "Time and time again we come across people in desperate straits who need not be there if the firm who lent them money had acted responsibly on day one."
Financial advice charity Credit Actions reports that at the end of September, total UK debt stood at £1,380 billion, an increase of £120 billion on the previous year.
It warns Britain’s personal debt increases by £1 million every four minutes.