Saturday 28 June 2008

Credit Dependent Middle Class In Crisis

More evidence on how the Credit Dependent Middle Class are about to be hit with the bill.

This will cause another massive demographic shift in politics.

This is further confirmation of my theory here ;

British household debt is highest in history
By Edmund Conway

Last Updated: 12:01am BST 28/06/2008

British households are now more indebted than those of any other major country in recorded history, it has emerged.

Families in the UK now owe a record 173pc of their incomes in debts, official figures have shown. The ratio of debt to income is higher than any other country in the Group of Seven leading industrialised economies, and is sharply higher than the 129pc of incomes it was five years ago.

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics as part of its National Accounts, underline the scale of the coming slowdown facing the UK, economists warned yesterday.

Michael Saunders of Citigroup warned that - at 173pc of household incomes - the debt burden is higher even than Japan's when it peaked in 1990, before more than a decade of deflation.

House prices won't recover until 2015, ex-MPC expert warns

"Not only are we the highest in the G7, we are the highest a G7 country has ever seen," he said.

It came as the City warned Britain to prepare itself for a possible recession after the official economic growth rate dropped to the slowest in three years and consumer confidence came close to its lowest since the mid-1970s.

Economists across the Square Mile slashed their forecasts for economic growth next year after the ONS revised down its estimate for output growth in the first quarter of the year. It said Gross Domestic Product - the broadest measure of Britain's economic activity - was 0.3pc, rather than the 0.4pc it had previously thought. It means the annual GDP growth rate is 2.3pc rather than 2.5pc.

Fresh figures also showed that households' optimism about the economy has plumbed new depths.

Market researcher GfK said its consumer confidence barometer dropped five points this month to -34 points - the lowest since 1990, when the worsening economy contributed to the downfall of Margaret Thatcher. GfK warned that the measure is now only a point away from hitting its lowest ebb since comparable records began in 1974.

Economists warned that the combination of data, which also included news of the saving ratio dropping to the lowest level since 1959 and of household disposable incomes falling at the fastest rate since 1999, suggested Britain is heading for a sharper downturn than many had anticipated.

Jonathan Loynes, of Capital Economics, said: "With growth already so weak in the first quarter before the full effects of the credit crunch and housing downturn had been felt, the economy looks set to slow significantly further over coming quarters.

"We now expect GDP growth to slow to just 0.5pc in 2009, with a very real chance of a technical recession."

Philip Shaw of Investec said: "Although we take the view that the economy will avoid a recession, our confidence is ebbing."

The ONS figures showed that the services sector grew by only 0.3pc in the first quarter, with the lull in financial services activity suffering its worst performance in five years in the wake of the credit crunch.

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