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The government needs to stamp out "irresponsible" lending practises in order to control rising levels of personal debt, an expert has claimed.

Damon Gibbons, the chair of campaign group Debt on our Doorstep, made his comments to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money programme following the revelation that, including mortgages, British consumers owe more than £1.3 trillion in household debt.

He said irresponsible behaviour from lenders included raising people’s credit limits without consulting them, reducing minimum repayments so they hardly covered the interest and targeting those already in difficulties.

"The processes in the market at the moment are fundamentally about trying to get everybody to bear the cost of their own risk and that’s meant targeting very low income groups with very high cost credit," warned Mr Gibbons.

Speaking to the same programme, the chief executive of the British Banker’s Association Angela Knight said although people are being lent sums irresponsibly, most of such lending is not from banks but from other providers.

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