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Consumer credit market 'slowing'

Britain's addiction to debt is beginning to slow down, a report suggests.Market analyst Datamonitor says that gross UK lending contracted by 4.5 per cent to £207.8 billion in 2006, compared to a year earlier.With the personal loans market also performing poorly, lenders will have to "review their pricing and acquisition models", the report warns.Financial services analyst Maya Imberg blamed the considerable cutback in spending on "a weaker labour market, combined with high consumer debts and weakened consumer confidence".She suggested more borrowers planning to pay off their debts rather than assume new ones were also contributing to the trend.With interest rates rising to curb upward inflationary pressures and consumers continuing to struggle with high levels of debt, Datamonitor warns the market is likely to continue to struggle in the next few years.Today's report predicts the consumer credit market will not recover until 2008. Gross advances will push the market to £229.4 billion in 2011.Consultancy firm Ernst & Young warned last month that Britain's total debts, worth £1.3 trillion, were putting the long-term stability of the UK economy in jeopardy despite the slowing growth indicated in today's report.

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