UK – Seven Million Working Adults Are ‘Just One Bill Away From DISASTER’

  • Adults in 3.6 million households struggling to feed themselves and their children
  • Spiralling cost of living and squeezed salaries blamed for pushing working families to brink
  • Childless couples with combined incomes of up to £29,000 were among those at risk of poverty
  • Families had no equity in their home or savings if faced with unexpected large bill at the end of a month

Nearly seven million working adults are under such financial strain each month a single unforeseen bill could cause them financial disaster, a study has found.  Around 3.6million households were struggling to find enough money at the end of each month to provide food for themselves and their children, according to shocking new research.

The survey for the Guardian focused on people who are employed and not reliant on state welfare, for whom ‘work no longer pays’.

Financial stress - Seven million working adults are 'just one bill away from disaster'

Financial stress: Around 3.6million households where adults were in work were struggling to pay for food at the end of each month due to mounting bills.

It found a squeeze on salaries and spiraling living costs were having a particularly devastating consequences, forcing millions towards poverty.Some of those facing the most critical financial stress can include a couple, without children, with a gross annual household income of between £12,000 and £29,000, or couples with two children on between £17,000 and £41,000.

The dire predicament meant they were so stretched that a larger than expected bill could force them into debt, with no equity in their home or savings on which to fall back.Bruno Rost, head of Experian Public Sector, which conducted the study, told the Guardian: ‘These people are the new working class – except the work they do no longer pays. ‘These people say that being forced to claim benefits or move into a council property would be the worst kind of social ignominy and self-failure.

’This latest research comes a week after charity Oxfam claimed that of those classed as being in poverty – officially defined as households with income of less than 60 per cent of median average – the number of people working outnumbered those unemployed.

Oxfam’s report also found that those in work but claiming housing benefit had risen to 900,000 – more than doubling since 2005. The growing number of adults being placed under severe financial strain despite being in work and not relying on the state is likely to embarrass the Government which declared that getting a job was the best way to pull families out of poverty.

Iain Duncan Smith last week unveiled plans to remove incentives to stay on welfare rather than moving into work. Work and Pensions Secretary insisted that employment, not a few extra pounds in welfare benefits, was the key to lifting families out of poverty, as he unveils plans to replace all other out of work benefits from 2013, with the Coalition’s new universal credit.

Changing fortunes - Seven million working adults are 'just one bill away from disaster'

Changing fortunes: The traditional image of household poverty in which no adults worked is no longer accurate, according to new research.

Mr Duncan Smith claimed: ‘Our latest analysis suggests that universal credit will ensure the vast majority of children will be lifted out of poverty if at least one parent works 35 hours a week at the minimum wage – or 24 hours if they are a lone parent,’

‘If people take steps with us to find and stay in employment, they will see the rewards.  ‘With the right support a child growing up in a dysfunctional household, who was destined for a lifetime on benefits could be put on an entirely different track – one which sees them move into fulfilling and sustainable work.’


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