Most British households are struggling to repay credit cards and loans, according to a new report.
The majority of respondents (51%) described their unsecured debts as a "burden" - a record high for the annual Bank of England study.
And more than a quarter (28%) said their monthly earnings had fallen by more than £100 over the past year, with just 14% saying it had gone up.
Some 42% also said they were concerned about next month's 2.5% VAT hike, to 20%, while just over a quarter (27%) said reduced spending on services was a major fear.
"The UK economy has begun to recover over the past year but households' financial positions remain under strain," said the report, which contrasted the low Bank of England interest rate of 0.5% with the "high" cost of borrowing for credit cards and loans.