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Friday, 13 January 2017 08:00

Some cheek - ‘do-gooder’ campaigners blame the wrong people for debt Featured

As people gorge on debt at the fastest pace in 11 years and the highest since the run up to the last global financial crisis –owing more than £190 billion on credit cards, loans and overdrafts and personal household debt standing at £7,300–are ‘do-gooder’ campaigners to be believed that we’re really being buried under debts we can’t pay off and it’s all our own fault?

At the risk of sounding offended; well-meaning they may be, but completely and utterly unrealistic they are. “My worry is we are repeating the mistakes of the past”… “Excessive borrowing caused the financial crisis, which caused years of misery. Nothing has been done to address the problem of household debt – and it is rising again” Baroness Altmann, a consumer champion and former pensions minister, has said.  

Can we just stop you there Baroness and take a look at life in the real world by reminding you of the perpetrators who did get us all trapped in a debt bubble and cause the financial crisis, who are yet to be suitably reprimanded by regulators or legislators for their abject failures,free to carry on as if nothing happened.

And what about the culprits who are making the “misery” much harder by cutting much needed financial welfare support, accused of not doing enough to find out how benefits penalties affect people,or giving paltry gestures of building “a country that truly works for everyone, not just the privileged few”.

A bit rich considering that the Government continues to run the country on credit! Only last week Chancellor Philip Hammond admitted that the state of our economy would force the government to borrow £122 billion more than hoped as he pushed back plans to balance the books and low and beyond who are set to feel the pain, yet again low and middle-income families. Maybe we should all be grateful as compensation that Hammond cancelled a planned rise in fuel duty and threw in an extra 30p an hour to the national living wage!

And, let us not forget that the banks who caused the financial crisis have massive credit debts and the taxpayer is paying off those debts. You only have to take look at the news that RBS – 73 per cent owned by taxpayers– has failed the toughest Bank of England stress test and needs to bolster its financial resilience or it could struggle in any future recession or financial crisis.Barclays and Standard Chartered also fell short in the test.Rather than join a lengthy queue, as Northern Rock customers did five years ago, maybe we should future-proof our money and consider moving to HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide or Santander; who didn’t reveal any shortcomings in the stress test! 

The Government, financial institutions and legislators certainly could not care less about their own finances let alone our own. Maybe if they did get a grip of already ‘discredited’ systems, there would be less cause for panic, less cause to scapegoat the wrong people and a real chance for millions of people already struggling with their finances not to need to run up more debt simply just to live.