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Consumer borrowing soars at fastest rate in 11 years

UK shoppers are borrowing money at the fastest rate for more than 11 years, and unsecured lending soared by £1.9bn in November.

The rise comes as more consumers spend on credit cards, rather than using cash, and is the biggest jump in consumer credit since March 2005. The current rate of borrowing is growing at an annual rate of 10.8%, and has now reached £192.2bn, new statistics from the Bank of England indicate.

Consumers spent £600m more on credit cards in November, and UK households now owe a total of £66.7bn on credit cards.

The rise has sparked warnings from economists, as borrowing edges back towards the 16% peak of the 2000s, before the economic crisis hit. Samuel Tombs, at Pantheon Macroeconomics, told The Times: “Such rapid growth in unsecured credit is unsustainable over the medium term,” while debt charity StepChange warned that “alarm bells should be ringing”.

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