Sharon McDougall - 27th January 2022 - 2 minutes to read
As many as 2.5 million British households missed at least one debt repayment or a bill they should have paid during the early weeks of 2022, according to a new set of figures.
Research by the consumer watchdog Which? tracked the extent to which payments were going unmade across the country and found the numbers were up sharply between December and January.
Indeed, the estimation that 2.5 million households missed payments in January represents a big jump from a figure of 1.7 million in December.
Which?’s headline numbers refer to missed payments on all types of debt including mortgages, personal loans and credit cards, as well as rent or household bills that were otherwise due.
The view from Which? is that its data highlight the fact that a growing number of people across the UK are struggling to make ends meet, particularly with inflation now rising so steeply.
A majority of people polled recently said they’ve been impacted by increasing food prices and 56 per cent said they’ve felt the effects of rising energy bills.
Which? has said it wants to see service providers and governments doing more to help households across the country cope with cost-of-living increases and issues of financial distress.
The consumer watchdog has cited rising energy bills as an increasingly important issue and called on policymakers to urgently find ways to support anyone struggling to make their gas and electricity bill payments on time.
“People should not be saddled with spiralling debts because of circumstances completely outside their control,” said Adam French, a consumer rights expert at Which?.
“Our research shows millions of households have missed or defaulted on payments this month alone.
“This is hugely concerning as it suggests the cost-of-living crisis is already starting to hit hard - especially for those on lower incomes.”
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