Worried lenders are starting to put the brakes on Britain’s consumer borrowing binge and plan to get tougher on credit card users, according to a Bank of England survey.
Its poll of all the main high street lenders showed they had cut access to credit in the opening months of this year and plan to limit it further. The proportion of lenders expecting to restrict access to credit between April and June was the highest since the financial crisis in 2008.
Those plans will be welcomed by financial regulators after their warnings on the rapid growth in borrowing in recent months as Britons have racked up debt on cards, car leasing schemes and personal loans.
But the prospect of households having less access to cash to spend will add to concerns that economic growth will slow this year. Consumer spending has been the main driver of the robust growth that has defied gloomy forecasts from economists since the EU referendum. But there is growing evidence that the engine of growth is losing steam, with retail sales slowing.