Figures show 44% of families cut back on food to meet housing costs

By agency reporter
September 17, 2016

In the last year, 44 per cent of working families in England – equivalent to 3.7 million families – cut back on buying essential food and clothing in a bid to help pay their rent or mortgage.

Research for Shelter and YouGov reveals the tough choices that working parents are making to keep a roof over their heads, with one in eleven going to the extreme of skipping meals, and one in five parents putting off buying their children new clothes or shoes to help cover their housing costs.

The charity’s findings shine a spotlight on the enormous pressure that housing costs are putting on family budgets. The research found that over half of working parents are already struggling to meet their rent or mortgage payments, leaving them vulnerable to any small change in income.

Sadly, these worrying figures come as little surprise, says Shelter, when recent government statistics show that the average household in England spends 29 per cent of their monthly income on housing costs, rising to a staggering 43 per cent for private renters.

With an uncertain economic outlook and millions of families already struggling to make ends meet, Shelter is urging the new government to do all it can to protect and improve the welfare safety net that helps families who fall on hard times to stay in their home.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “These figures are an acute reminder of the tough choices that working families are having to make to keep a roof over their children’s heads.

“Any one of us could hit a bump along life’s road, but with housing now taking up the lion’s share of people’s pay-packets, any drop in income can all too quickly leave families at risk of losing their home. At Shelter we speak to parents every day who live in constant fear that a cut in hours could tip them into homelessness.

“With millions of working families struggling and a period of economic uncertainty ahead, now is the time for the new government to both protect and improve our welfare safety net so that it can be there to support families who fall on hard times.”

* Shelter http://england.shelter.org.uk/

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