Market Research Discovers Worrying Trend of Britons Struggling to Pay Bills

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22nd November 2012 15:10 - Financial Services


New research by Legal & General has found that as many as 2.64 million households (12% across the UK) are currently ‘overwhelmed’ by rising fuel costs and other bills.

Exasperated by the recent fuel price hikes by energy suppliers as the coldest months of the year kick in, two out of five households (4.3 million) in Britain are either in or close to 'fuel poverty' – this is defined by the Government as having to spend more than 10% of household income on electricity and gas.

The regions with the most households already in fuel poverty are Wales (31%), London (29%), Humberside, West Midlands and Yorkshire.

In a separate survey on behalf of debt charity StepChange, it was shown that in the first nine months of 2012 around 12% of its clients were behind on paying fuel bills which came to £668 on average, while 9% had rent arrears typically totalling £842

Another bill problem is council tax - this year nearly one fifth (17%) of its clients in households where at least one person was working had suffered council tax arrears which came to £821 on average.

Lord Stevenson, Chair of StepChange, commented on this “deeply concerning trend”: “Struggling to meet the basic cost of living means that many working households are forced to turn to credit just to get by. Increasingly this includes extremely high-cost forms of credit such as payday loans.”

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