Could you lend me £200?

According to data published by the University of Birmingham, one in three of us wouldn’t be able to find £200 for a financial emergency without borrowing, either using an unsecured loan or having to sell a prized possession. A further 1 in 10 of us simply said they wouldn’t be able to afford to borrow at all.

The University’s Financial Inclusion report confirms that the majority of us are still trying to cut back on our spending, but those at the bottom are increasingly struggling. Karen Rowlingson, professor of social policy at the University stating “The welfare cuts from 2010 onwards are starting to bite, which we can see in various indicators – not least the increase in possession orders granted to landlords, from 95,000 in 2010 to more than 120,000 in 2014, an increasing number of people are at risk of losing the roof over their heads.”

The findings in this years’ report are alarming, and are based upon the most up to date relevant data, so give an excellent indicator of peoples’ circumstances. The report confirms that there were 1.85million people out of work in the UK at the end of 2014, which is close to pre-recession levels, and that 35% of people still struggle daily with financial issues and are only just getting by.  Indeed the majority of the population is still trying to reduce its spending, with 53% of us cutting back on basic food items.  At least 60% of the population have some form of unsecured credit, be it a credit card, payday loan or an unsecured loan.

Perhaps most alarming though is the massive increase in the amount of people using food banks.  In 2010/11 just over 61,000 people used them, which increased to over 1million in 2014/15.  Evictions from rented properties have increased, especially in the social housing sector as people fall behind with rent and bills.