Shelter: Households cutting back on essentials to pay for housing

The Momentum UK Team 19 January 2012

More than one in five people have cut back on gas and electricity to keep up with rent or mortgage payments over the last 12 months, a 60% increase since 2008, according to latest figures from the housing charity Shelter. The figures also suggest that more that one in three have cut back on food bills in order to make payments on their home, a 44% increase since 2008.

The charity urge those facing difficulty to seek help as soon as possible, to prevent repossession or homelessness. Chief executive of Shelter, Campbell Robb said:

"These staggering findings show just how many millions of people are cutting back on essentials as the continued squeeze on incomes starts to really bite.

"It demonstrates the tough choices families are now having to make, between heating their home, putting a decent meal on the table or paying for the roof over their head."

According to latest data from the charity Credit Action there are 101 property repossessions made in the UK every day.

The Council for Mortgage Lenders forecast 45,000 repossessions, up from around 37,000 in 2011 but less than figures for 2009, and "far lower than in the downturn of the 1990s".

Figures from Shelter released earlier this month suggest that as many 1 million may have turned to payday loans to help meet their mortgage bill across the last year, with a further 6million turning to other forms of credit. Housing minister Grant Shapps commented:

"The sheer scale of the global slowdown has left many hard working families struggling to make ends meet. So I would urge anyone who is getting into difficulty to seek help in getting their finances back on track.

"Assistance can be sought by searching online for the government's mortgage help website or by visiting organisations who can provide free, independent guidance such as Citizens Advice. The quicker households act to get help, the more options they will have available to them."