Families go without food

NDET 18-1-13 MC 1'Despair at council tax bill
NDET 18-1-13 MC 1'Despair at council tax bill

Thousands of Nottinghamshire families are having to go without basic food and clothing in order to pay the bills, new figures reveal.

Research by Shelter and YouGov shows that in the last year, 43 per cent of working families in the East Midlands – equivalent to more than 300,000 families - cut back on buying essential food and clothing in a bid to help pay their rent or mortgage.

The figures show that to make ends meet one in ten are going to the extreme of skipping meals, and one in seven parents are putting off buying their children new clothes or shoes to help cover their housing costs.

The charity’s findings shine a spotlight on the enormous pressure that housing costs are putting on family budgets. The research found that over half of working parents in the East Midlands are already struggling to meet their rent or mortgage payments, leaving them vulnerable to any small change in income.

Sadly, these worrying figures come as little surprise when recent Government statistics show that the average household in England spends 29 per cent of their monthly income on housing costs, rising to a staggering 43 per cent for private renters.

With an uncertain economic outlook and millions of families already struggling to make ends meet, Shelter is urging the new government to do all it can to protect and improve the welfare safety net that helps families who fall on hard times to stay in their home.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “These figures are an acute reminder of the tough choices that working families in the East Midlands are having to make to keep a roof over their children’s heads.

“Any one of us could hit a bump along life’s road, but with housing now taking up the lion’s share of people’s pay-packets, any drop in income can all too quickly leave families at risk of losing their home. At Shelter we speak to parents every day who live in constant fear that a cut in hours could tip them into homelessness.”

Anyone who is worried about losing their home can contact Shelter for free, expert advice. Visit www.shelter.org.uk/advice or call the Shelter helpline on 0808 800 4444.