Nearly half of workers have to borrow money to make ends meet – survey

Nearly half of workers have had to borrow money from banks, payday lenders or family and friends to make ends meet in the past six months, a new study reveals.

A survey of more than 2,300 workers also found that only one in three said they could afford basic necessities, while nearly two-thirds said rising energy costs forced them to spend less for basic foodstuffs or other essentials.

GMB union members who took part in the survey said they could not afford to turn on the heating and feed their families, and some said they only ate every other day.



The spike in energy prices was terrifyingly predictable. Instead of blaming low-paid workers for demanding a pay rise, ministers need to pull themselves together and make the important decisions that can help stabilize prices in the future, such as on new nuclear generation and gas storage

GMB General Secretary, Gary Smith

GMB general secretary Gary Smith, speaking at the union’s annual conference in Harrogate, said: ‘We are facing the perfect storm of falling wages as prices soar. It is a disaster for the workers.

“People are suffering and this government is doing nothing.

“The spike in energy prices was terribly predictable. Instead of blaming low-paid workers for demanding a pay rise, ministers need to pull themselves together and make the important decisions that can help stabilize prices in the future, such as on new nuclear generation and gas storage.

“In the meantime, there is a strong case for wage support for some of the lowest paid workers.”

Comments from respondents included:

– I can’t afford to turn on the heating and feed a family of six. Must be one or the other. Years without a pay rise are starting to bite (paramedic).

– We are not living, we are treading water. This government needs to give me a break (school support worker).

– I have two jobs, my partner has two jobs and we are still struggling to afford basic necessities like food, gas and electricity. (Airport firefighter).

– I can’t afford to live, I feel depressed (NHS worker).

– As a 43-year-old married man and father of three young children, I feel really depressed as we grapple with rising food and energy bills. I am extremely worried for the coming months as our salaries are at breaking point (heavy duty driver).

– It’s so hard to save money for our wedding. I actually told my partner that I wish now that we hadn’t set the date and paid the deposit on our site. I wouldn’t have booked my wedding if I knew how much our bills were going to go up (Administrator).

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