Britons borrowed an average of 32p for every pound they managed to save during the third quarter of the year, new research shows.

The figure represent a dramatic turnaround from the third quarter of last year, when people focused on reducing their unsecured debt, paying back £1.40 for every £1 they saved, according to website

There was also a fall in the amount consumers are saving, with people collectively setting aside £13 billion during the three months to the end of September, nearly a third less than the £19 billion they saved in the second quarter.

The amount people borrowed through credit cards, overdrafts, loans and equity release was also only slightly lower than during the previous quarter at £4.2 billion, compared with £5.11 billion.

Karen Barrett, chief executive of, said: “After the dramatic retreat from savings in favour of paying off personal debt in the first half of 2008, consumers are now slipping back into old habits, by borrowing around a third of what they save. While our year-on-year data shows that this is reasonably good for a normal economic cycle, with savings levels currently billions lower than they were back in 2006 and 2007, this is creating a serious barrier to a sustained economic recovery.”

The calculations were carried out by RAKM.