According to research from Shelter, 8.6 million people could not pay their rent or mortgage from their savings for more than a month.

According to research from Shelter, 8.6 million people could not pay their rent or mortgage from their savings for more than a month.

A recent survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of Shelter, the homelessness and housing charity, has found that 8.6 million working adults who pay housing costs would be unable to pay more than a month of mortgage payments or rent from their savings. This equates to 35% of those in employment. Another alarming result of the survey was that 4.4 million people (i.e.18%) would not be able to pay their mortgage payments or rent for even the first month if they lost their jobs and couldn’t get other employment straight away.

The research also found that 43% of couples with children do not have enough savings to meet mortgage or rent payments beyond one month. Worryingly, an estimated quarter of these families run the risk of losing their properties immediately should they become unemployed.

Shelter has warned that these figures give an alarming picture of the state of the UK and the extent of financial pressure currently facing families and homeowners. They say that millions of people could be on the verge of financial crisis, as their homes may only be secure for a month ahead at any given time.

These results follow the government austerity measures and cuts to welfare payments, which are impacting on family finances. This includes the recent £26,000 annual cap on total benefit payments per family as well as the ‘bedroom tax’, which has cut back on the benefit allowed to families who are seen as having a spare room in their rented council house or housing association property. There have also been cuts to disability living allowance and caps on child benefit and tax credits, all of which will affect family incomes. This all comes at a time when the cost of living has increased, wages are not being increased in line with inflation and job security is low.

Shelter reports that it has seen a significant rise in the number of people seeking advice on how to remain in their homes and they warn that people should ask for help early if they feel vulnerable, to avoid the risk of losing their homes. The help given to those on the brink of losing their homes has increased over recent months and years, however.

The Government has set aside £470 million of extra funding and allowed more flexibility and power for councils to come to the aid of families in crisis with their homes. Shelter hopes this will offer a safety net against the possible disaster of homelessness.

There is also the Mortgage Rescue Scheme set up by the Government at a cost of around 221 million pounds. Under this, local governments can use a registered landlord to purchase 90 percent of a house if the property is close to being repossessed and the original owners can then stay on and pay rent. The Mortgage Rescue Scheme also gives funding to charities such as Shelter and other similar organisations to provide more advice services and information.

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