Monday, 14 April 2014

Many families in Eastern England one pay cheque away from loosing their homes

HUNDREDS of thousands of families with children in the East of England could not pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their job, new figures from Shelter reveal today (Monday, April 14). The YouGov survey of working adults who pay rent or a mortgage found that with little or no savings to fall back on, 45% of all working families in the East could be just one pay cheque away from losing their home. The research also found that in the east of the country, a quarter of all families face the nightmare scenario of immediately being unable to afford their home if they lost their income. More than 200,000 families (26%) said that if they lost their job this month and could not get another one straight away, they would not be able to make their next rent or mortgage payment from their savings. Kate Murray lives with her five year old daughter and disabled mother. She lost her job as a business manager with only three days’ notice when the company she worked for went bankrupt in October 2013. Kate said: “Before my employer went bankrupt they hadn’t been paying me properly for a while, so I’d started to fall behind on my mortgage. Then I got the letter through the door saying they wanted to take my house back. I was petrified. It’s not the best house but at least it’s our house. I thought, what am I going to do? How am I going to tell my daughter and my mum that we have to move out?” The latest government figures on savings mirror Shelter’s research, revealing that there are 15m working age adults in the UK with no savings at all. The charity’s findings showed that 3.8m working families from across the UK could not pay their rent or mortgage from their savings for more than a month if they lost their job, and 2.4m of these families have no savings to fall back on at all. Liz Clare, who is a helpline advisor at Shelter, said: “This research highlights the financial knife-edge that millions of us now find ourselves on – living month to month, pay cheque to pay cheque. Every day we see the proof that just one piece of bad luck, like a sudden job loss or illness, could tip any of us into a spiral that puts the family home at risk. “Sky-high housing costs and stagnating wages mean that saving is becoming a thing of the past for many people. Most of us simply don’t have enough money in the bank that we can rely on for long enough to get back on our feet. We need better government support to give families the short-term help they need to keep their homes if they fall on hard times. Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Finding another job is hard enough, but without a stable place to live it’s almost impossible. No matter how hard ordinary families work, in today’s ‘knife-edge nation’ any drop in income can all too quickly put their home at serious risk. The government must make sure the safety net is strong enough to stop families falling through the gaps, and going through the tragedy of losing their homes.” Anyone who is worried about losing their home can contact Shelter for free, independent advice. Visit or call the helpline on 0808 800 4444. Written bySINEAD HOLLAND

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