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Number of South West families battling with bills doubles in a year

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 05, 2013

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One in five householders in the South West are struggling to keep up with their rent or mortgage payments – double the number a year ago – a charity has warned.

Research conducted by YouGov and Shelter showed the number of rent or mortgage payers in the region battling to pay the bills had risen from 11% in December 2011 to 22% in the same month in 2012. It means more than 700,000 people across the South West are starting the New Year facing a monthly battle to keep a roof over their heads.

Shelter also estimated that almost one million people nationally took out a payday loan in the last 12 months to help them cover their mortgage or rent.

Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive, said: "It's shocking to think that so many families in the South West will be starting the New Year with a huge weight hanging over them, trapped in a daily struggle to keep their home.

"Short-term credit may seem like a quick fix. However, with the huge interest charges, things can quickly spiral out of control, leaving people with vast debts they simply can't pay back.

"It's vital that anyone who's having difficulty paying their rent or mortgage gets advice now. Don't wait until things reach breaking point later in the year – it could leave your family's home at risk."

The charity said that the number of people constantly struggling to pay their rent or mortgage had increased by 44% in the past year.

A fifth of those surveyed, equating to 7.8 million Britons, were facing a monthly battle to keep a roof over their heads.

Some 4% of rent or mortgage payers said they had fallen behind with their payments, which would be 1.4 million people at a national level.

Around 7% of those surveyed said they used an unauthorised overdraft to help them cover their costs, and one in ten of these people said they did so every month.

Just over 2% said they had taken out a high-interest payday loan for this purpose, equating to around 979,000 people if the figures were projected nationally. Rents have soared over the last year as tenants have remained trapped in the rental sector, because they have been unable to meet lenders' toughened criteria or raise the typical 20% deposit needed.

More than a million homeowners also saw their mortgage costs increase in recent months after several lenders raised their standard variable rates.

Households are set to come under further pressure this winter from soaring energy bills, following a string of price hikes by companies.

Figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders have shown that despite the difficult economy, home repossessions have been much lower than expected, falling to their lowest level since 2007 in the third quarter of this year.

Shelter's research was taken from a survey of 4,000 people across Britain.

Read more from Exeter Express and Echo

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  • danielf  |  May 07 2013, 1:22PM

    Sadly, but looks like the entire world is going to experience this issue. And it is definitely no surprise that along with housing bills getting bigger, our salaries remain steady low. Is this even fair? And after all this, the government gets seriously astonished with the personal finance debt being that high. Just think of this: people, unfortunately, have to apply online loans ( like here, for instance,null ) for which can be obtained immediately. Thanx for the post though

  • robocop1982  |  January 08 2013, 2:48AM

    a trip to the stars might happen one day even further

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  • robocop1982  |  January 08 2013, 2:47AM

    money is not required for anybody to live. ITs only required because of the rules that have been created and the current way of things. I don't see anybody making any attempt to even give a new system even a trial. i dream of trips to other planets to escape this dump and explore new better worlds

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  • robocop1982  |  January 08 2013, 2:41AM

    why are we all slaves to these energy corporations. all they are doing is extracting natural resources from the earth and then charging people for it yet they are just taking natural resources form the earth and it isnt costing them anything other than physical teamwork. its a shame this planet only knows money as a way of control as there are many other ways we could exist. if money works then you cannot deny that any other system would not work that is not money based. things will change one day and the future generations will not even remember the days of money as they will of advanced way beyond that. some people cannot look past money as a form of control.

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  • nickthompson  |  January 07 2013, 11:30PM

    Just thought I would cheer you up a little.------------------------------------------------------------------------------The boss of an energy giant that has doubled its prices in just seven years could pocket a £13million payoff. Phil Bentley, who is to leave British Gas within months, has presided over above-inflation hikes that have pushed average bills past £1,300 a year. The latest punishing rise of 6 per cent comes as millions endure the greatest squeeze on living standards since the 1920s.--------------All in this together,some it seems not in as much as other's!!

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  • HughGarsse  |  January 07 2013, 1:10PM

    I don't see why jewelry and home furnishings shouldn't go as well, or for that matter unecessary headwear such as caps.

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  • Jezza999  |  January 07 2013, 11:22AM

    @ trudie2010 "The people with sky, mobiles, gadgets and new cars should be made to sell those items to pay bills." Presumably you would like to return to the days when unemployed people - like my grandfather who was gassed on the Somme - were required to sell everything except their bed and their wedding ring, and my father (as a boy) being told when receiving food from the equivalent of a food bank was told 'touch your cap, boy .... you are receiving charity'.

  • trudie2010  |  January 07 2013, 11:04AM

    If these people don't pay the rest of us will have to pay for them and that's not fair. The people with sky, mobiles, gadgets and new cars should be made to sell those items to pay bills. Pay the bills first, then you can do what you want with the money that's left over, get your priorities right, you can survive without luxuries.

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  • HughGarsse  |  January 07 2013, 10:32AM

    Yes, using your computer, watching your TV, filling the kids paddling pool, recharging your DS, These are all things we can't live without. This is the west and we need our entertainment, it's our human right. Bring back 1960's policies now.

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  • JJLee  |  January 07 2013, 10:25AM

    It is morally corrupt that Companies are allowed to profit from key utilities. Nationalise and charge cost price and stop them ramping up the prices

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