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British families are reigning in their spending because of the "increased headwinds" they are facing financially, it has been claimed.

According to the latest financial reality index from the Alliance Trust, consumer spending has "finally" began to slow down in light of the credit crunch, falling house prices and rising living costs.

Debt problems are widespread in the UK but until recently Britons were happy to borrow more in order to maintain their lifestyles and to cover their costs, the financial services firm reports.

Additionally, debt management and money problems could be set to worsen for the thousands of British homeowners whose fixed-rate mortgage deal is coming to an end.

"Our measure of consumer wellbeing shows households are facing increased headwinds in terms of their finances," said Shona Dobbie, from the Alliance Trust Research Centre.

"Given the continued strain on household budgets, we expect consumer spending to slow even further in the next 12 months."

Last week, CreditExpert suggested that millions of UK consumers are adding to their debt problems to buy the fashion items that make them appear more affluent than they are.

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