Research shows 3.4 million households on financial 'cliff edge’

By staff writers
September 10, 2014

More than 3 million households across the UK are living on a knife-edge where a small drop in income could cost them their home, new figures from the housing and homelessness charity Shelter revealed yesterday (9 Seotember)

The analysis of government data, made by the University of St Andrews, on behalf of Shelter, found that one in eight households in the UK are surviving on low incomes (Shelter defines this as an income of 60 per cent less than the median) while paying unaffordable housing costs (more than 30 per cent of income), putting them under huge financial pressure.

The research paints a picture of families pushed close to breaking point, says Shelter, with further statistics showing that more than one in 10 working families in England have had to sell possessions to cover their housing costs.

The University of St Andrews’ figures are based on the Department for Work and Pension’s Family Resources Survey from 2011/12, which covered 25,000 households across the UK. It also found that during that period, 625,000 households had already missed at least one essential household bill payment.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said that too many families are living close to a financial cliff-edge: "Every day at Shelter we hear from people who, through no fault of their own, are finding it impossible to keep up with sky-high housing costs. It’s terrifying to think that many of us are resorting to avoiding bills or selling possessions in a desperate bid to make ends meet."

He concluded: "The government must make sure families who are already battling to keep their heads above water don’t slip through the growing holes in our safety net, and into a downward spiral which could result in the loss of their home."

[Ekk/4]

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