People who are in debt are often in the situation for very good reasons, claims one expert.
A spokesperson for the Consumer Credit Counselling Service says these are not always situations they can avoid, although some people are affected by taking on more credit than they can handle.
"If people have been spending ‘willy-nilly’ on credit cards, you can’t really argue it is the bank’s fault for getting them into that debt," he continues.
The expert believes it is necessary for people to take control of their own finances, although those who are struggling to do so can seek advice from a debt management company.
He believes people should not "bury their heads in the sand" when it comes to dealing with debts, as problems can often spiral out of control.
Nonetheless, it is important to remember some people are in the situation through no fault of their own, he adds.
Alliance Trust’s Financial Reality Index, a bespoke measure of how well-off consumers are, showed a decline in the last quarter of 2008, falling to 34.5 – the lowest level since it began in 1997.