Four fifths of Brits who are heavily in debt are so worried that they can’t sleep, while more than 10% don’t even have a bed of their own, according to report by charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP).
The charity points to low income as the most common cause of prolonged and serious debt.
In a survey of 1,217 clients, CAP found:
- 81% were so worried by debt they were having trouble sleeping
- 11% said they were going without a bed
- 6% said they were renting their bed
- One in three were missing a bed, fridge, freezer, washing machine or sofa
- 10% were renting items of basic furniture
- 63% of CAP clients were living below the poverty line (£15,780)
“For years our charity has been saying that people in debt can’t sleep at night. Now we discover the shocking truth that more than one in ten don’t have a bed to call their own,” said CEO Matt Barlow.
CAP also highlighted the growing trend of low-income households renting furniture. BrightHouse, which is the UK’s largest weekly payment retailer, provides a single bed for £2.50, or a single bed and mattress for £3.50 per week. But this amounts to £546 for a bed and mattress over a three year period, more than the cost of buying them outright.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that, in June 2014, 46% of households in the lowest wealth bracket were in financial debt. Those with the lowest incomes also had far higher debts than those in any other income group.
CAP also found that overdue payments for household bills and essentials, such as rent and mortgage payments, have trebled in the last ten years. While the average client owed £1,412 in 2006, that figure had rocketed to £4,582 in 2016.
“It’s easy to say that people get into debt because they are thoughtlessly overspending. That view is now not only lacking in compassion, it’s thoroughly outdated,” said Barlow.
“The vast majority of people we see have turned to credit to cover the costs of necessities like council tax, energy bills and rent. A decade ago, the pattern was different, credit was more easily found and living costs weren’t so high,” he said.