Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Struggling Britain: Millions borrowing money just to stay alive

Shoppers (Pic:Getty Images)
Shoppers (Pic:Getty Images)

ONE in five cash-strapped shoppers has to BORROW money to buy groceries and other basics because of soaring prices.
And the financial crisis has forced a quarter of Britons to dip into ­savings just so they can eat.
The bleak reality faced by millions of families across the land is laid bare in a major new report to be published this week by consumer champion Which?
The report reveals how the downturn has left people struggling to cope in the wake of Government tax hikes and benefit cuts.
And even relatively well-paid people are suffering because of Britain’s flatlining economy.
More than 36 per cent questioned admit they are finding life difficult – that’s over twice the number in a similar report five years ago.
Fewer than half (43 per cent) say they are “coping” as they fight to keep their heads above water. And barely one in five people claim they are living comfortably.
Financial pressures have already forced almost one in three to drop holidays with 47 per cent admitting they were giving up this year’s annual break, reveals the Which? study of 2,094 people. And their view of the distant future is grim.
Only four in 10 believe their children will have any chance of being better off than they are.
The report also reveals how many people have been forced to dramatically change their lifestyle just to make ends meet. Almost four in 10 are now spending more time at home instead of in pubs and ­restaurants.
More shoppers (37 per cent) go online to save money, and 55 per cent of all those questioned said they bought items from second-hand or charity shops.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd warned: “Over half of UK consumers are not coping on their current incomes. Worryingly, one in five people told us they had gone into debt just to buy food and other essential goods. We already
know struggling consumers are worried about rising food and energy prices, and are making significant changes.”

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