Watchdog calculates cost to business and public purse of indebted and stressed adults – not helped by harsh bailiffs

The British economy is losing almost £900m a year from the rapid rise in personal debt problems, according to a report from the Whitehall spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said reduced levels of worker efficiency, people staying away from work and greater chances of people in debt committing crime, meant there was a wider cost of £897m annually to the overall economy.

Related: MPs rebuke councils for 'overzealous' use of bailiffs

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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19 March 2019