Analysing The Issues Related With Personal Over-indebtedness

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Question :

£6000 Debt Grew To £116 000:

If you don’t repay a loan, and a lot of time passes, the debt can grow to unmanageable proportions, as happened to an unfortunate borrower in Manchester in the United Kingdom.

A grandmother has been forced to put her house up for sale after she ended up owing a massive £116000—on a £6000 loan. Esther Osei, 57, borrowed the money in 1988 to pay for her father’s funeral and to buy a new cooker for her Clayton home.

But she could not meet the cost of the loan and 18 years later, the amount she owed had grown to £116 000 … Esther said: ‘I borrowed the money when I was grieving for my father. I just signed the papers.’

When the lender applied to take possession of her home, Esther sought help by going to the North Manchester Law Centre. Lawyers negotiated a deal at Manchester County Court . . . A law centre spokesperson said Esther should never have entered into the loan agreement. ‘It was a very high rate of interest.’

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Answer :


The global perception of Debt has evolved over the years and, nowadays, potential consumers consider it as a viable tool to pursue any purchase of services and items. As the attached case study flagrantly suggests, taking debt can transmit severe consequences and can pave the owed towards over-indebtedness. Moreover, introducing an auxiliary dimension of debt into the prevalent fixed yet low incomes in order to satisfy the modest everyday expenses can also have adverse repercussions.

Key Indicators of Over Indebtedness:

Several research scholars and financial advisory organizations [The Money Advice Service (MAS) is such an organization with the objective of improved financial management] have extensively analyzed factual data in order to derive the key indicators that have the ability to address this multi-dimensional issue of the burden of debt while shedding a subjective perspective. MAS have been able to calculate that more than 425,000 people in United Kingdom are suffering from over-indebtedness in accordance with their statement where the consumers addressed the consideration of burden of debt as an inability to comply with the arrears of three months within six months. The Charity StepChange that is committed to financial consulting through telecommunication in UK, have posed six chief indicators to outline the penchants of debt as an economic misery. The six governing traits are as follows;

  • Trailing behind the bills
  • Breaching Credit Commitments
  • Compensating credit commitments and other bills with Credit
  •  Making meager repay as per the declared debt
  • Regular use of credit in order to make it a payday

Further apprehensions, which are framed upon this insight of indicators, suggest that the financial status of the nine per cent of adult population in the major cities of London is discovered with two or three of the symptoms of financial difficulty (Muldrew, 2016)

In Global Context

After the global financial crisis in 2008 and the consequent recession, the structural ingredients of problem debt has faced a significant alteration of terms and that has been traced through monitoring the switch of consumer credit transactions oriented with the imperative everyday deposits. Major moiety of the available information indicates identical conditions that are supposed to be backed by the prevalent yet diverse definitions. Dealing with the problems of the burden of indebtedness is considered as a paramount mayoral priority (Mian & Sufi, 2015). They usually encourage the establishment of a collective platform which is supposed to address the relevant arising issues of recession with critical sincerity. The respective collective entity is dedicated to draft a report of their accomplishments and in order to facilitate that they are instructed to include;

  • Navigating the usual provision of debt consultations with precise debt levels ( insolvency data) and suggesting enhanced information and service sharing across the entire city
  • Assisting to immune investment regarding the capitalized debt and encouraging an interface to continue this partnership of consultation further

Overview of Individual Problem of Over Indebtedness

Proportions of debt considerably vary around the communities and households and the burden of unmanageable indebtedness can impart an adverse impact irrespective of the characteristics. Specific groups are non-uniformly harmed by the problem of burden debt. The MAS has been able to discern certain collective entities that they reckon as specifically vulnerable and they can be categorized as follows:

  • LIG (Low Income Groups)
  • Meager income young workers
  • Educational Aspirants
  • Private rents and stable Households 

The scenario of over indebtedness has switched in the previous five years. It was prevalent that the credit of the consumer was vehemently expressed as the chief origin of the problem of indebtedness. Current information heralds towards the enlightenment of a certain section of commuters who are prone to breach the credit commitments unconditionally. 

It is hereby seem imperative to cite some introspective apprehension of Capitalise, which is a pan-london partnership of consulting agencies committed to provide walk-in debt advice to the victims of over indebtedness. Actually they have been able to categorize the affected into two chief domains such as;

  • People who are mentally impaired
  • People with meager incomes or sediment in terms of benefits

Stimulants of individual over indebtedness can be multi-guised and intricate. Frequently, pressure on community and household incomes can merge with an uncertain price or event that are prone to ignite a crisis. For instance, recent research conducted by an eminent institute of London deciphered a considerable number of stimulants that have the potential to trigger the debt-oriented crisis. The outcome of the research can be categorized as;

  • Abrupt experience of decline in financial status (such as losing a job)
  • Drastic changes in employment agreements
  • Considerable drop in declared wages
  • Gradual hike of renting cost in private sector compounds
  • Eviction from prevalent accommodations
  • Price hike in everyday amenities and other utilities
  • Considerable cut and alterations in welfare and other default benefits
  • Abrupt personal tragedy

The recent scenario of problem debt, as it was partially inaugurated in this report earlier, has been significantly altered in the last successive years. It was an axiom of prevalent debt practice that the credit of the consumer is the potential origin of this crisis of over indebtedness. Though the dimension of this custom is still embedded in the consideration, it is further administered that there exists a considerable moiety of population who inherently rely on credit in cases of paying household and other essential bills. Moreover, this symptom is evident among the consumers chiefly crippled by low income and welfare benefits.

Graph for Value of Household arrear

Fig: Average Value of Household arrear

Source: Muldrew, 2016)


However, the exponential leap in utilities bill defaults, Council tax obligations have been vehemently addressed as a potential driver of problem debt. However, few of the scholars in this discipline refuses to rely on tax obligations as a potential stimulant of problem debt and, on the contrary, they exhibited the issue of low income as an equivalent alternative of the underlying problem. As per some of the supporting arguments of this alternate side, it is nothing concocted  to expel them from the paradigm since it is very evident that most of the people suffer from inadequate wealth and simultaneously unable to pay the household bills. A humane characteristic penchant can be attached hereby where people encourages the liberty to choose the default debt since the consequences are universally dependant on them (For instance, the consequences are prioritized as per the severity and those marked as not prioritized left unpaid).

Taxation and Other Obligations

 Council Tax obligations are framing in as the most influential origin of over indebtedness, usually in the section with meager incomes. Indeed, in recent years, the proportion of consumer with council tax obligation has been doubled roughly as illustrated in few of the relevant graphs.

Pie chart on Type of Debts

Fig 1: Type of Debts

Source: Turner, (2015)

As per the global measures, this is due to the introduction of new tax reforms in 2013 where families with meager incomes have been incorporated in the paradigm of Council Tax. However, after some successive amendments in the prevalent Tax Reduction Scheme, the average amount of council tax that a citizen is supposed to pay is considerably increased as compared to the previous scheme. (It may be interesting to cite that the amount is roughly equivalent to the twice of the jobseeker’s weekly allowance or can be compared with a lump amount of overall household budget). Numerous families find it difficult to struggle with this while endowed with significantly low income and welfare wages. Moreover, families, which are already struggling with economic incapability, are now feel obliged to address an additional amount of bill that consolidates their prevalent insecurities (In most of the cases’ it left unpaid). Apparently the sum appears negligible but owns a possibility to facilitate a considerably catastrophic consequence (Sometimes, it becomes difficult to restore balance among the precarious financial profiles of household (Montgomerie, 2013)

The method, which facilitates the recovery of the debt of Creditors, may be diverse. Several institutes across the sectors have exercised varying approaches to deal with debt recovery. The usual perception suggests that the implied approaches can be improved. When consumers default on cash transactions as per the severity of consequences, they are frequently warned via telephone, emails text messages according to the accessibility. Some of the institutes prefer to issue hardship datasheets along with the reference of corresponding debt consultants while making them comply with an alternative payment module. The latter earn an popularity as most of the respondents prefer to accept this with a warranty of absolute debt recovery.

There are surplus concerns that left non-entertained and unabashed with the prudent references of debt advice. However, several families complained while receiving an under-nourished service from their regional councils who happens to turn impotent to assist the debt arrears (Traum & Yang, 2015). Yet, few of the families realized there has a remote possibility to obtain support if they wish to have it earlier since it is previously established that the pre-arrears communication is a potential framework to address the underlying problems before the debt transcends the paradigm of manageability. The liable authority can be recommended to ensure the fairness and transparency of the methods they are employing to retrieve the debt.

Credit Market

The consumers on meager wages for prolonged durations can admit budgeting and economic management difficult since it usually paves to problem debt. Usually, people endowed with low wages are by-default efficient budgeters, but they used to lack security regarding their savings that transform them vulnerable towards abrupt economic shocks and leaping thrust of manageable finances. A significant moiety of meager income households are struggling to enter into conventional credit and street banking. Otherwise, they often endow the consumers with disproportionate sums. Households drowned in debt will stereotypically prone to use several sorts of credit, often, setting them off against another instead of allowing them to get servicing (For instance, withdrawing a loan to cater credit card returns). However, the multiple economic thrusts sometimes can result in collapsing to upcoming offers of lucid and leap cost credit. This apparently appears manageable itself yet sometimes stagnates to unmanageable composite debt. There is a reliable index that suggests that short-term credit suppliers with high cost usually reside in the regions with significant proportion of deprivation and consequently enables them with impeded access of products.

 Consumers in Household Arrears

Fig: Consumers in Household Arrears

Source: Turner, 2015)

It is very evident from a recent trend of practice that potential consumers are prone to switch to credit since it ensures a smooth expenditure even in paydays. Currently, the hike in standard of living as compared to the accumulating incomes has been a chief stimulant for this penchant. The subsequent declines in pays cause the combat that major households are obsessed about having the wages alone. The respective households have combated to ensure the mainstream credit since the lending eligibilities are quite robust. These financial parameters have paved the entire administration towards a leaping demand of substitute forms of credit and financing. Lenders have been able to acquire an in-depth understanding that they have an obligation to illustrate the gross cost of credit to the customers (Turner, 2015).

Annual Percentage Rates (APR) are still fruitful in enabling customers to judge a product in contrast to the others. Even then, some of the consumer research framework reflects that those who are accepting high cost along with significant ambiguities in short-term loans are not shedding adequate attention to APR. Consumers are adaptive towards loans in terms of return rates and consequent amount of deduction that is supposed to be executed in total. However, they should concentrate to accrue the overtime interest. To consolidate this, several research scholars prioritized to boost up the entire administration in order to gain convenient credit over the ultimate cost of deliverables. 


Several scholarly reports in the respective discipline suggest that a majority (around 92%) of The Consumer Finance Association (CFA) have been able to obtain introspection about the total costs. As per several Bankers’ Association, the consumers are prone to be less perplexed when the proportions of interest are embarked in financial terms, as opposed to APR. The CFA patronizes this procedure with the objective that exhibiting prices in native currencies evades confusion. Apart from that, several debtors of Payday loans also complained combating to expel their loan contracts that enable them to advance the loan instead of returning it in complete.