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Families will still be paying off Christmas debts in June, study suggests

Average income households will take up to six months to clear debts built up through Christmas spending on food and presents, the TUC has said.

Average income families will take until next June to clear their Christmas debts, with the the average adult borrowing £685 over the festive period, the Trade Union Congress has claimed.

Last Christmas, one in six families borrowed money to pay for food, drinks and presents, with households borrowing at an average of £654 per adult.

This year, falling real wages and lower household savings will make it harder for borrowers to repay their higher credit card borrowings and loans in 2014, the TUC said, with it estimated to take 24 weeks to clear the debt.

If a minimum wage worker were to borrow this sum it would take them an entire year working full-time to pay it off, the TUC analysis found.

Meanwhile, nearly half of all families who borrowed during last year’s festive season still haven’t finished repaying last year’s debt, research published by Consumer Intelligence in October showed.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Britain’s real-wage squeeze is forcing more and more families to put Christmas on credit.

“Millions of households will be still be paying for this year’s presents, food and drink well into the summer and beyond.

“Instead of benefiting from Britain’s economic recovery ordinary people are finding it harder to pay off their debts.

“Unless the government does more to tackle the cost of living crisis this debt bubble will continue to grow. Britain needs a pay rise.”