Europe

1.9 million households have skipped ‘important payments’

Cost of living: Homeowner reveals she is having to sell her house

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It has been estimated that around 6.7 percent of British households have missed or defaulted on at least one important payment, such as a mortgage, rent, credit card debt or other bills. This would equate to about 1.9 million households. 

Which? took their findings from a survey of 2,000 with population figures in order to make their calculations on the current cost of living crisis. 

The consumer group said they are concerned the number of households missing important bills will jump in the upcoming weeks as families struggle to pay for Christmas during the cost of living crisis. 

Payment rates tend to be lower as Christmas approaches, but then peak in January when households need to pay their holiday expenses as well as their usual monthly bills.

In December 2021, smile research showed that 1.7 million households missed out on at least one important payment, which then increased to 2.5 million in January 2022.

Rocio Concha, the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Which?, said: “With 1.9 million households missing important payments in the run-up to Christmas, we’re worried that many more people could be facing financial crisis in January.

“As the credit repayments pile up and the cost of living crisis continues to bite.”

Which? has said that those renting their homes are more likely to have missed a housing payment than those with mortgages.

Some British households reported they weren’t able to pay either their energy bill, phone and internet bills or council tax.

Which? has been estimated around 15.8 million households, have made at least one financial adjustment this December, such as cutting back on essential groceries, selling items or even going into their saving to cover their spending.

This would equate to 56 percent of people, which is an increase from this time last year in 2021 (42 percent) but is still lower than the peak in September 2022 (65 percent).

This comes at a time some Brits have admitted to not being able to afford Christmas this year, and it has caused their families great distress.

An elderly couple, Roy and Joan Herring, said it was “upsetting” that they wouldn’t be celebrating the holidays the same way this year.

Roy, age 75, told the BBC: “Sometimes, I’ll sit down here when I’m on my own and Joan’s in bed, and I’ll just sit there and cry.

“We’ve actually told the family ‘I’m sorry, this year we can’t afford it’.

“I cannot afford to buy anything extra this Christmas because we only get our pension; we don’t get no more.”

The couple admitted that they were spending between £40 and £50 just to keep their house heated and that Christmas was going to be a “struggle”.

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Shannon Brandon, a mother with two young sons, has said the anxiety over rising gas, electricity and food prices keeps her awake at night. 

She said: “We get by every month but there’s nothing left. We don’t have things like savings.

“There are no extras in our life. If we manage to get extra things, that’s a massive bonus for us.”

Sharron admitted that she and her husband would only be buying gifts for their children as they cannot afford gifts for themselves. 

She added: “All our money is going to be going towards the boys, we’re just trying to dial back on everything really just to make sure that we stay afloat.”

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