One in three people could not pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their job, new figures from the housing and homelessness charity Shelter have revealed.
Of those questioned in the YouGov survey published yesterday (11 April):
- 35 per cent, equivalent to 8.6 million people, could not pay their rent or mortgage from their savings for more than a month.
- 18 per cent, equivalent to 4.4 million people, would not be able to pay their rent or mortgage at all if they were unable to secure a new job immediately.
The research reveals families with children are in the most precarious situation: 43 per cent could not pay for their home for more than a month, and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) could not meet their payments at all.
Unemployment in the UK rose by 7,000, to 2.52 million in the three months before January 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics.
In total, 3.9 million British families may be just one paycheque away from losing their family home.
As Government cuts take effect and the squeeze on family budgets means saving becomes ever harder, Shelter says it is is bracing itself for a surge in demand from people at risk of becoming homeless.
Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter said: "These figures paint an alarming picture of a nation where the buffer between having a home and potentially becoming homeless is a single paycheque.
"Millions are living on the edge of a crisis, only secure in their homes for a matter of weeks. At the same time, support for people who have lost their homes is being stripped away - it’s easy to see why every fifteen minutes, another family in England finds themselves homeless."