Britain has now topped the G7 nations with the highest level of personal debt ever recorded. New research by the Office of National Statistics shows that the average family owes 173% of their income to their debt commitments, compared with 129% in 2003.

The Telegraph reports that these figures represents the highest personal debt level of any country in the group of G7 nations, and that it underlines the true scale of the economic struggles in the UK.

G7 stands for Group of Seven, and is the meeting of finance ministers from the most industrialised nations in the world. It consists of: France, Italy, Japan, United States of America, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Michael Saunders of Citigroup warned that this personal debt level in the UK is even higher than Japan’s during the 1990 peak which was followed by more than a decade of deflation.