A new survey commissioned by the national charity Turn2us has found that, despite a recovering economy, 79% of low income families have seen no sign of their financial situation improving in the last year.
The survey, released to coincide with Turn2us’ annual Benefits Awareness Month, found that in the last year, over four-fifths (81%) of parents on low incomes have struggled to pay for food and other essentials. Almost half (49%) say that their outgoings now exceed their earnings, with nearly a third (32%) seeing increased levels of debt.
Nearly half (47%) revealed that the continuing struggle to cover their costs was negatively affecting their health. Worryingly, almost one in three (30%) expect their financial situation to decline further over the next twelve months.
The new research also examines the financial struggles of households that experienced one change to their circumstances – including job loss, childbirth and family breakdown – in the last year. Of those families who experienced a change, more than three-fifths (61%) say it has negatively impacted their finances.
Yet despite their struggles, nearly a third (32%) of low income parents have never checked their entitlement to benefits.
In response to these ongoing problems, Turn2us’ Benefits Awareness Month is focusing on the huge numbers of households still struggling to make ends meet. Turn2us is encouraging everyone to check what financial support could be available by using its free, online Benefits Calculator at www.BenefitsAwareness.org.uk. The website also features information on what support is available depending on the different changes in circumstances households may experience.
Alison Taylor, Director of Operations at Turn2us, said: “Many low-income households are already struggling to afford basic goods – just one change in their situation is enough to push them into real financial hardship. That change could be an unexpected bill, becoming ill, bereaved or losing your job. Support is often available through the benefits system but many people are just not aware of the benefits they are entitled to. Through this campaign we aim to highlight the support available, so people are not left struggling without help, at a time they need it most.”
Turn2us is working in partnership with other charities and organisations across the UK for Benefits Awareness Month. For more information about the campaign, please visit www.BenefitsAwareness.org.uk.