The proportion of household debt is at its highest for five years, according to an analysis by the TUC.
On average, UK homes owed 26.5% of their annual income on loans and credit cards in the third quarter of 2015, the highest rate since 2008.
The figures – based on data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – include student loans, but exclude mortgages.
The average amount owed by households is now £11,800, the highest level yet.
However, debt was proportionately greater in 2008, when it reached more than 30% of household income.
"If people start building up household debt, then at some point they’re going to get in trouble," said Frances O’Grady, the TUC’s general secretary.
The Bank of England has also released figures showing unsecured debt in November had reached £2,759 per household. However, those figures excluded student loans.
One reason why debt may have increased is the popularity of car loans, which have had low servicing costs. Recently, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that UK car sales reached a record in 2015.
The TUC said the debt figures were a sign that fundamental problems in the economy had not been fixed.
It also pointed out that increases in earnings have slowed down since last summer, exacerbating household debt.
Andrew Skinner, partner and head of Palmers’ Debt and Insolvency department said: “These figures show that money continues to be tight for many people who are struggling and, in far too many cases, failing to keep their heads above water. It is important to remember that there is expert help available to help consolidate debt, to avoid legal action being taken by creditors. Anyone who is worried about spiralling debt should contact our experienced team of legal experts.”
For more information please contact Palmers’ Debt and Insolvency team.