Many millions of Britons have started the new year in a perilous position financially, new research suggests.
National Debtline, a leading UK charity, has warned that a sizeable proportion of the population has accumulated debt following a spending splurge over the Christmas period; which in many cases came after very little forward-planning.
According to their calculations, 16 per cent of Britons (almost eight million people nationwide) may face financial difficulties as a result of the amount of money they spent on the festivities.
This is a significant increase compared with 12 months ago and suggests that a greater number of people are turning to credit cards to meet the costs of expensive periods of the year.
The charity surveyed a total of 2,000 people and found that more than half of respondents had not put any money aside for Christmas prior to the start of December.
Although some had made efforts to budget accordingly, fewer than one in five of those surveyed had made plans any earlier than the summer.
The charity and other organisations have now urged households, particularly those on low incomes, to ensure that they allow plenty of time to plan spending before next Christmas.
Joanna Elson, from the Money Advice Trust, said: “After the celebrations of the Christmas period, January is a challenging time for many households with the impact of festive spending taking its toll on household budgets.
“With millions expecting to fall behind with their finances in January, we want people to be financially prepared for the year ahead.”