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Millions still have a Christmas hangover

Date 2 Nov 2007

There may be about 50 shopping days left until Christmas, but millions of Britons are still paying off last year's festive indulgences.

Four out of 10 relied on credit cards to meet the cost of Christmas last year and nearly a fifth are still paying the bill, a survey shows. Around 41% of consumers used their plastic to buy presents and food in 2006. But just 29% of these managed to clear their credit card bill when it arrived in January.

According to price comparison website, 17% of those who used their credit card for last year's festivities have still not cleared their debt. It also warns Christmas spending looks set to fall this year from last year's average of £837 per person.

The web savings firm says consumer spending power has been hit by dearer mortgages and utility bills, while many still have a financial hangover from last Christmas.

A spokesman said: "With rising costs of living and interest rate hikes curbing spending power this year, it is likely that many will have to make cutbacks this Christmas."

People on lower incomes are most likely to still be paying for last Christmas. It's estimated 43% of people earning less than £35,000 a year will use their credit card to cover their festive spending.

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