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'Higher living costs to add to debt mountain'

Fast rising living costs are set to pile more pressure onto debt-strapped Britons, it has been claimed. The Alliance Trust Financial Reality Index (ATRT) recently found that recent wage increases have failed to offset the higher prices for food and fuel. This, along with higher mortgage repayments and credit card bills, will place more and more Britons into a parlous and stressful financial situation, head of the ATRT Shona Dobbie claims. Those set to be hardest hit are consumers who have hitherto funded their lifestyles on credit cards, she added. Ms Dobbie explained: "Our study shows consumers have apparently spent beyond their means for the last two years, resulting in ever higher levels of debt. "This trend is set to end, however, since there are additional pressures on households’ financial wellbeing because of a downturn in those factors that affect their net wealth such as the poorest quarter on the stock market in four years, rising debt levels and the cooling of house price growth."

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