East: Workers On Rent 'Knife-Edge'

26 September 2013, 06:00 | Updated: 26 September 2013, 07:37

Housing charity Shelter are warning 1 in 4 workers in the East could only pay for a month of rent or mortgage if they lost a job.

Shelter is warning that new rules being introduced in October risk leaving families in the East of England ‘living on a knife-edge’ where losing their job is more likely to mean losing their home.

The charity’s new analysis reveals that some families in the East of England will need to find £100 or more each month as soon as they lose their jobs to have any hope of keeping up with their housing costs, and identified Norwich as a hotspot of serious concern in the region, where the changes will bite hardest.

A YouGov poll commissioned by Shelter revealed that over a quarter (27%) of workers in the East of England say they could not pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their job. The charity also found that across the country, six in ten working families are struggling or falling behind with their rent or mortgage.

Abi Reilly, a teacher, lives with her husband, a cleaning supervisor, and their two small children in a rented home. Abi said: “Even though my husband and I both work hard, just paying for the essentials of rent, food and bills means we don’t have any spare cash left over at the end of the month. If either of us lost our jobs now, I don’t know how we’d afford to keep the roof over our heads. Looking for another job whilst dealing with the risk of losing our current home would be unbearable.”

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: “Every day, Shelter sees people worried about what would happen to their family and their home if they fell on hard times. This research highlights the frightening reality that as support continues to be cut, losing your job is increasingly likely to mean losing your home.

“The high cost of housing, rising living costs, and job insecurity are already making it incredibly tough for ordinary families to survive. Just one thing, like an illness or redundancy, can be all it takes to tip a family into a downward spiral that puts their home at risk.

“It’s important that we have a welfare system that’s fair, but the government is cutting back the safety net so much that families are no longer protected from losing their home.

“We want the government to keep the support available to families who face losing their homes. Finding another job is hard enough, but without a stable place to live it’s almost impossible to get back on your feet.”