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One-in-four British adults to take on debt to pay for Christmas

One quarter of British adults say they expect to take on debt paying for Christmas 2014, according to research by R3, the insolvency trade body.

Of the 27% of British adults expecting to pay for extra Christmas costs by borrowing, 50% plan to borrow with an existing credit card, 24% will use their overdrafts, and 14% will borrow on store cards.

Worryingly, 11% plan to skip other spending commitments, like mortgage payments, while another 10% plan to take out a new credit card, and 8% expect to need a payday loan. 2% say they may turn to an unofficial lender.

R3 and ComRes polled a representative sample of 2,000 British adults.

Giles Frampton, R3 president, says: “What’s worrying is the number of people planning to use debts that might come with a ‘sting in the tail’. Payday loans or loans from unofficial lenders can see the borrower pay back substantially more than the original sum.”

“Paying for Christmas by not paying other bills, like mortgage payments, could have serious ramifications. It will hurt credit ratings, making it harder to borrow in future, and could lead to greater problems if interest payments and penalty charges mount up.”

Giles Frampton adds: “Taking on debts is fine so long as they’re affordable and people have a plan for how to pay the debt back.”

“Pressure to spend is acute at Christmas. People need to budget very carefully and set aside money for presents, travel, and entertainment. Outgoings can mount up very quickly. It’s important to think about the long-term impact of supposedly short-term borrowing.”

British adults intending to borrow to pay for Christmas who are planning to use…

Base: All British adults who intend to use any credit or loan products in order to pay for extra costs at Christmas (n=533)

A third (35%) of those aged 18-44 are planning to borrow to pay for Christmas. This falls to just 15% of those aged over 65.


  • ComRes interviewed 2,054 GB adults online between 14th and 16th November 2014. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all British adults aged 18+.
  • ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules ( This commits us to the highest standards of transparency.
  • Data tables are available on the ComRes website,


Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

  • R3 comments on a wide variety of personal and corporate insolvency issues. Contact the press office, or see for further information.

  • R3 promotes best practice for professionals working with financially troubled individuals and businesses; all R3 members are regulated by recognised professional bodies
  • R3 stands for 'Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal' and is also known as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.