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COVID-19 craters 11 million Brits' ability to spend as much on Christmas

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Yahoo Finance Staff
·2-min read
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Pandemic has created anxiety around Christmas spending, according to a survey. Photo: Getty
Pandemic has created anxiety around Christmas spending, according to a survey. Photo: Getty

Around 11 million UK adults feel unable to spend as much on Christmas this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s according to research carried out online by Opinium Research, on behalf of money app Yolt. It surveyed 2,001 UK adults between 16-19 October. The results are weighted to nationally representative criteria.

The 11 million figure was derived by dividing the number of UK adults that say they will decrease their Christmas spending this year by the total sample, then multiplied by the UK adult population.

The survey also found that 21% of respondents estimate a decrease in their spending — spending £151 less on average. Three in 10 UK adults also admit to feeling more anxious about affording Christmas this year

“Finding the right balance between spending at a time like Christmas and putting money aside is tricky at the best of times – let alone when dealing with the current uncertain economic situation,” said Pauline van Brakel, chief product officer from Yolt.

Bank of England (BOE) figures, released in June, on household debt showed that Brits paid off a record £7.4bn ($9.3bn) of debt in April during the coronavirus lockdown. UK households paid off £5bn in credit card debt alone in April, more than double the record £2.4bn paid off in March.

READ MORE: UK households take on more debt after months of repayments

However, BOE data released on 1 September showed that UK households borrowed more through credit cards and overdrafts than they paid off for the first time in four months in July.

Net consumer borrowing returned to “around its pre-COVID level” in July with households borrowing an additional £1.2bn ($1.6bn). That’s higher than the £1.1bn monthly average for the 18 months up to February this year.

Yolt’s survey also showed that 16% said they think they are likely to get into debt financing the year’s Christmas.

“Whether or not you’re facing debt problems, tools that help you budget and keep track of your finances are very useful. In fact, making a budget is the first step to resolving debt problems – but sometimes it isn’t enough in itself, and that’s when you might need some help,” said Sue Anderson, head of media at debt charity StepChange.

“If that’s the case, and money management alone isn’t going to solve the problem, debt charities like StepChange can help you walk through an entire budget process and identify potentially suitable solutions to help address your debt.”

WATCH: Record UK debt, but time to borrow more?