Millions cutting back on fuel and food to help pay for housing costs
19 January 2012
More than one in five people (22%) – equivalent to 10 million people in Great Britain - have reduced their gas and electricity usage in order to help pay their rent or mortgage in the last 12 months, according to Shelter Scotland.
The results from a YouGov survey commissioned by Shelter Scotland and Shelter of 4,014 people also show that over one in three (34%) – equivalent to 16 million people in Great Britain - have spent less on food to meet the cost of housing.
The figures represent a 60% hike in the number of people cutting back on fuel usage and a 44% increase in the number of households slashing food spending since similar research was carried out in 2008.
According to housing and homelessness charity the findings are a stark reminder of the harsh daily struggle faced by families across Scotland and comes hard on the heels of research which shows that one in five children in Scotland live in poverty.
Shelter Scotland has already seen a 40% increase in the number of households in Scotland seeking advice on the threat of repossession and is calling on anyone who is struggling with their housing costs to seek early advice to reduce the risk of losing their home.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said:
“These staggering findings demonstrate the tough choices households have to make between heating their home, putting a decent meal on the table or paying for the roof over their head.
“Family finances are under greater pressure than ever, making it increasingly difficult – and for some near impossible - to make ends meet. Against a backdrop of rising unemployment, frozen wages and rising living costs, something has to give.
“We fear that the result will be even more families forced in to poverty, with some facing the very real threat of homelessness.
“We urge anyone who is experiencing problems in paying for their bills to seek advice sooner rather than later by calling our free national helpline on 0808 800 4444 or by visiting our website http://scotland.shelter.org.uk .”
Notes to Editors
1. In December 2011 Shelter commissioned YouGov to conduct a nationally representative survey of 4,014 adults in Great Britain. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd and 5th December 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
2. 22% of respondents said they have reduced the amount spent on fuel bills for the home to help meet housing costs, a rise of 57% since March 2008
3. 34% of respondents said they have reduced the amount spent on food to help meet housing costs, a rise of 42% since March 2008
4. The estimate of the number of GB adults who reduced the amount they spend on fuel for their home in order to help pay their rent or mortgage in the last 12 months (More than 10 million) and the number who reduced the amount they spent on food in order to help pay their rent or mortgage in the last 12 months (16 million) is based on the latest estimates from the Office of National Statistics which indicate that there are 47.8 million adults in Great Britain. Source: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-231847
5. Scotland figures: Based on a total Scottish adult population of 4,184,261, the proportion of 31% of adults reducing the amount they spent on food has a confidence interval (margin of error) of 4.6% and proportion of 21% reducing the amount they spend on fuel has a confidence interval (margin of error) of 4.05%. This is to a confidence level of 95%. Scottish population estimates (GROS, 2011) http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/theme/population/estimates/mid-year/2010/figures.html
6. The estimates of the number of adults affected in 2008 to calculate the increase between 2008 and December 2011 are based on 2008 population statistics from the Office of National Statistics which indicate there were 46.9 million adults in Great Britain.
7. Calculations of estimates in 4 and 5 above have been made by Shelter.
8. Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit http://scotland.shelter.org.uk or call 0808 800 4444.
9. Spokespeople are available for interview - call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
10. Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.