With the economic crisis in full swing, property prices remaining stable or rising and levels of unemployment becoming higher by the second as the cost of living increases, are we pricing ourselves out of existence as a society?
More and more families in the UK are struggling than ever before with everyday expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, heating bills and feeding and clothing costs rising. With the average UK salary in April 2012 just £26,500 and many families surviving on a single income, just how are we supposed to manage rising fuel costs and the cost of living on such a shoestring budget?
A study undertaken in June 2012 revealed that almost seven million adults in the UK are struggling to feed themselves and their families, with around 3.6 million families finding it difficult to cope on their existing income. Most of us have no savings or assets to fall back on as we are spending as much as or more than we earn, often dipping into any savings to pay large utility bills.
Surprisingly, couples who had two children and were earning between £17,000 and £40,000 were amongst those struggling whilst childless couples on a salary of between £12,000 and £29,000 were also amongst the worst hit.
It is harder than ever before for first time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder, with house prices rising at three times the rate of wage inflation. Many mortgages require a minimum ten percent deposit with some lenders looking for 25 percent deposits. The days of 100 percent mortgages are behind us! For those who already own their own homes, a Secured Homeowner Loan is a great way to find the funds you need in an emergency; for example, if your partner has lost their job, or if you need to pay for unexpected car or home repairs. Secured Homeowner Loans can be used for any purpose and could provide you with a cash lump sum to purchase a new car or a relaxing two week holiday in Italy. Remember that these types of loans are secured against your property, so it is vital that you make sure to pay your monthly instalments on time and in full, to avoid any risk to your home.
The Rising Cost of Energy
With British Gas announcing further price rises for winter 2012, as many as ten million families face an increase of around £90 on their fuel bills this season. The average yearly bill for a British Gas customer is £1,240 (for electricity and gas) but with rises of between five and seven percent expected to hit us, a further £60-90 could soon be added to that figure.
Many elderly people in the UK already live in fuel poverty, struggling to heat their homes adequately in the winter, leading to health risks and financial stress. With these further price rises, it looks like we are pricing ourselves out of existence! Many are infuriated that energy companies are making huge profits yet not passing on any of these advantages to consumers.
In September of 2012, The Telegraph reported that families in the UK had been hit twice as hard by rising food costs than those across Western Europe. In fact, food prices in the UK have risen 32 percent since 2007; that’s a figure that is almost double that of the European Union figure.
A family’s average food bill in the UK is now expected to pass the £4,000 mark; all because the UK imports around 40 percent of its food from other countries. Supermarket giants such as Tesco predict difficult times ahead for consumers, with more organisations such as food banks being set up to support not just those who are unemployed or homeless, but the average family struggling to feed themselves in theses harsh times.
With no signs of the economic crisis abating anytime soon, more families across the UK will continue to struggle to make ends meet. Benefit cuts, job losses and the rising cost of living predict dark times ahead for us as a nation.
Stuart Edge is a blogger who has a keen interest in how the average salary these days’ has become almost worthless. He recommends that if you are struggling because your wage does not cover your expenses, it might be worth researching Secured Homeowner Loans to see if they can help.