Over a hundred thousand people across the UK have utilised a payday loan to pay for their monthly housing costs, a study by the Charity Shelter has indicated.
Shelter conducted a study last year that gauged the impact of housing payments on 4,085 bill payers, and shockingly found that 2% had used payday loans to subsidise the costs in 2013.
Another 20% were found to have used some form of loan to make the payment, though most of these came from credit card sources.
The news marks the latest chapter in a series of payday loan controversies which has seen a public backlash at the short term, high interest firms.
Payday loans are intended to be used on a month to month basis, where the creditor takes out a loan that they repay on their next payday. However, their widespread availability to people with poor credit ratings and their expensive default costs has allegedly plunged many people into debt in recent times and has led to calls for their conduct to be clamped in a bid to help tackle the country’s debt problems.
Alarmingly, Shelter found that of the people currently struggling to make their payments, a monumental 25% disclosed that they had not asked for help as they were ‘too ashamed’.
A further 40% said that they had not even told their family or friends, suggesting that a greater amount of work is needed to encourage people to seek help when they fall into financial difficulty.
Last year Shelter took around 9,000 phone calls on its debt helpline from people who were finding it hard to keep up with their housing costs, which represented a 33% rise from the year before.
Shelter’s report provides a compelling insight into the effect that the cost of living and high housing prices are having on working class families.
The steep rise in living essentials such as utilities, travel, food and housing at a rate faster than inflation has prompted people and politicians alike to say that we are currently in a ‘cost of living crisis’.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Sky-high housing costs, stagnating wages and the high cost of living have taken their toll.
“The economy as a whole might be on the up, but losing our home could now be a frighteningly real prospect for any one of us.
“We’re now hearing from record numbers of families up and down the country who are desperately struggling to keep the roof over their heads. But the truth is, we’re more worried about the people we don’t see.
“Our message today is don’t keep your worries to yourself.”
Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of the Consumer Finance Association, said that payday loans should only be used as a form of covering small payments and should never be utilised in a role to cover housing payments.
Mr Hamblin-Boone said: “While it is of some comfort that the figures haven’t increased since last year, there are still too many people using short-term loans to manage larger debt problems.
“We advise anyone who is regularly struggling to pay their rent or mortgage not to try and borrow their way out of trouble. Responsible lenders will help you with a debt repayment plan.”