3.4 million households across the UK are living on a “financial cliff-edge”, where a small drop in income could cost them their homes, new figures reveal today.
Analysis of government data by the University of St Andrews, on behalf of the homeless charity Shelter, reveals that one in eight low-income families are living with unaffordable housing costs.
Average rental costs in the UK currently stands at £694 a month but rents in London have soared to £1,412 a month – more than twice the national average.
Rent has also become less affordable in the South-west and South-east of England, where average income is 2.55 times and 2.93 times the median national average respectively.
Mum of two Lou, 42, works full-time but still struggles to cover housing costs.
“Even though I work every day and live in a small flat, the rent eats up so much money that it’s almost impossible to make do with what’s left over each month, and I can’t move because there’s nowhere else remotely near to work I could dream of affording”, she told Shelter.
“I’ve had to borrow money off my friends and family to cover my rent, and I’m always making tough decisions on what I can and can’t afford for my youngest. Things have got so bad that I’ve even missed paying bills because I had to put food on the table, and that’s when the debts start to mount up.
“It’s such an uphill battle. I’ve faced losing my home before and I live in dread of having to go through that again. The idea of losing my job just doesn’t bear thinking about.”
The Housing Benefit bill for working families is set to soar by more than £1 billion by 2018. Years of lower than inflation wage rises, and the lowest ever levels of house building, have resulted in a rising number of households who are struggling to cover housing costs.
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said:
“Every day at Shelter we hear from people who, through no fault of their own, are finding it impossible to keep up with sky-high housing costs. It’s terrifying to think that many of us are resorting to avoiding bills or selling possessions in a desperate bid to make ends meet.
“The government must make sure families who are already battling to keep their heads above water don’t slip through the growing holes in our safety net, and into a downward spiral which could result in the loss of their home.”
Source – Welfare News Service, 09 Sept 2014
Men and women in the North-East have the lowest healthy life expectancy in the country, according to official new figures.
A statistical bulletin produced by the Office for National Statistics highlights the continuing North-South divide in health life expectancy.
Men born in the North-East had a life expectancy of 77.8 years, slightly higher than the North-West, but the lowest healthy life expectancy of 59.5 years.
Women from the North-East also finished at the bottom of the pile for life expectancy – 81.6 years – and last among the English regions for healthy life expectancy – 60.1 years.
The two areas where men and women could expect to have the longest expectancy of healthy living were in Richmond upon Thames and Wokingham in the affluent South-East of England.
Men born in Richmond upon Thames could expect to enjoy a healthy living expectancy of 70 years while women born in Wokingham could expect to live healthily for 71 years.
Within the North-East Darlington men had the longest healthy life expectancy of 64 years with Northumberland just behind with 62.7.
The shortest healthy life expectancy within the region for men was in Sunderland where average healthy life expectancy is 55 years.