Millions of Households Forced to Cut Back on Essentials

by Mark Johnston

Most households have been faced with high living costs and deteriorating employment conditions for quite some time now. However the largest drop in inflation in nearly 3 year was reported earlier this month and therefore things look even bleaker for many households.

Family finances are under a much greater pressure than ever before, thus making it increasingly difficult, and for some impossible, to make end meet.

With all the economic doom and gloom many households are now having to prioritise their bills each month just to get by. On top of the priority list is of course rent or mortgage payments.

Recent research, commissioned by Shelter, a housing and homelessness charity, has shown that more than a third of Brits are cutting back on food in an effort to keep the roof over their heads.

This research has also shown that 22% of people, the equivalent to 10 million people in the UK, have also turned off many un-needed electrical appliances and turned down or in some cases turned off their heating in a bid to reduce their energy bills. This too is in order to help pay their rent or mortgage.

Many experts have stated that if these particular research figures were to be projected nationally they would equate to approximately 16 million people cutting back on food spending and approximately 10 million people reducing their fuel bills in order for them to cover their mortgage or rent bills.

Just over 1 in 5 people who were asked to take part in this particular study said they had spent less on gas and electricity in the last 12 months to finance their housing payments. This figure has increased by 60% since similar research was carried out in around 2008.

Graeme brown, director of the Shelter charity in Scotland, has said of the results of the study that “we fear that the results will mean even more families are forced in to poverty, with some facing the very real threat of homelessness”.

This research demonstrates the tough choices many families are now having to make between heating their home, putting a decent meal on the table or paying for the roof over their heads.

Other data on a similar subject has also warned that 1 in 7 Britons have turned to credit to help cover their rent or mortgage payments, such as unauthorised overdrafts and pay day loans.

This figure equates to almost 7 million, when projected on a national scale.

Financial experts have warned that relying on such methods could lead to people losing their homes, as these loans are intended only for short term use and are an unsustainable way of paying for housing.

All of these figures become even more alarming compared with the fact that mortgage payments at the moment are at their most affordable in years. It therefore raises the big question that if households are currently struggling to pay for their housing, what will happen when the Bank of England base rate



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