Millions cutting back on fuel and food to help pay for housing costs

People are cutting back on food to pay their rent or mortgage (Picture by Magnus D)

MORE than a third of Brits are cutting back on food in an effort to keep a roof over their head, according to a homelessness charity.

They also said the 22% of people – equivalent to 10 million people inGreat Britain- have reduced their gas and electricity usage in order to help pay their rent or mortgage in the last 12 months.

The results from a YouGov survey commissioned by Shelter Scotland and Shelter of 4,014 people also show that over one in three (34%) – equivalent to 16 million people in Great Britain – have spent less on food to meet the cost of housing.

The figures represent a 60% hike in the number of people cutting back on fuel usage and a 44% increase in the number of households slashing food spending since similar research was carried out in 2008.

According to housing and homelessness charity the findings are a stark reminder of the harsh daily struggle faced by families across Scotland and comes hard on the heels of research which shows that one in five children in Scotland live in poverty.

Shelter Scotland has already seen a 40% increase in the number of households in Scotland seeking advice on the threat of repossession and is calling on anyone who is struggling with their housing costs to seek early advice to reduce the risk of losing their home.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “These staggering findings demonstrate the tough choices households have to make between heating their home, putting a decent meal on the table or paying for the roof over their head.

“Family finances are under greater pressure than ever, making it increasingly difficult – and for some near impossible – to make ends meet. Against a backdrop of rising unemployment, frozen wages and rising living costs, something has to give.

“We fear that the result will be even more families forced in to poverty, with some facing the very real threat of homelessness.

“We urge anyone who is experiencing problems in paying for their bills to seek advice sooner rather than later by calling our free national helpline on 0808 800 4444 or by visiting our website .”