ONE in three under-45s were drowning in debt and owed far more than they had in the bank — even before the pandemic, data shows.
They were battling to pay off loans, credit cards, bills and overdrafts as Covid hit in March 2020.
In all, 12 million people were calculated to have owed more than they had in savings.
Four in ten were using credit, store or charge cards.
And debts were building for a quarter who were unable to pay them off in full each month.
It left them struggling to take the financial hit from the pandemic and facing further misery from soaring bills and National Insurance rises.
The damning picture emerges from a Labour analysis of Office for National Statistics data.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth warned the growing cost of living crisis and rising fuel bills were making it worse.
He said: “Hardworking families need real help now not Rishi Sunak’s low growth and high taxes.”
Labour also found that the richest ten per cent held 43 per cent of all the wealth in the country.
As ordinary families struggled, the rich spent less and saved more during Covid, paying off billions in debts.