Some 10m people took out a loan in the past 12 months with a third using the cash to pay for food and basic living essentials, according to research by the affordable housing group Circle.
Meanwhile one in five needed the cash to cover mortgage, credit payments or energy bills. And, despite Tory crowing about the economy showing positive signs of recovery, that hasn't filtered through to the hard-up.
Those who have had to borrow say they are not optimistic about their situation improving any time soon.
And why should they be? Even though inflation fell to 2.7 per cent last month, MGM Advantage says households need to spend an average of £679 to maintain the standard of living they had a year ago.
Who can afford that? The truth for many is that their standard of living is slipping and more are turning to debt to cover essentials. Until personal situations start to improve, a financial recovery will still seem a very long way away.