Shocking new research released today by Shelter Scotland shows a huge surge in the number of people suffering stress and depression due to high housing costs.
The research on behalf of Shelter and Shelter Scotland has found 37% of people in Britain – 18 million – now believe housing costs cause stress and depression in their family (1). This is a rise of seven million since the charity’s last survey in 2009 – up 63% – showing that increasing numbers of people are struggling to keep their home.
At a time when more and more people are at risk of repossession and many face rent rises, the housing and homeless charity commissioned YouGov to investigate just how much this was impacting on people’s lives.
Further investigation by the charity showed increasing numbers of people are feeling the strain with a rise of six million people finding it more difficult to keep up their rent or mortgage payments and 12 million people (26%) state they have reduced the amount they spend on food to help pay their housing costs (2).
Gordon MacRae, Head of Communications & Policy at Shelter Scotland, said:
“It’s shocking that in the space of three years the number of people in Britain who say the constant worry of meeting housing costs is causing stress and depression in their family has surged by 63% to 18 million -bringing this issue firmly into the mainstream.
“These figures show that it is not only the most vulnerable and least well off affected by this issue, it is now a mainstream daily worry for millions of hard-working families across Britain.
Mr MacRae added:
“It’s hardly surprising that people’s health is suffering when they face a daily choice between cutting down on essentials like food or keeping a roof over their head. The impact this stress could have on other family members and long-term health is a real cause for concern.
“To maintain the housing safety net which helps so many people keep a roof over their heads, the SNP government must now deliver on its manifesto pledge to build 6,000 socially rented houses a year.”
Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said:
“These findings should be of profound concern to us all. At SANE, we are certainly hearing more from people who are deeply worried about their financial situation: where the next meal is coming from, job security, cuts in benefits and whether they can keep a roof over their head. Many are getting in touch with us for the first time.
“It is a toxic combination, especially for those who are already struggling with darker thoughts and other problems.”
Notes to Editors
1. In 2011 Shelter and Shelter Scotland commissioned an online survey from YouGov. Total sample size is 2118 UK adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st April – 3rd May 2011. Respondents were asked whether they strongly agree, agree, neither, disagree or strongly disagree with the following statement: “Housing costs cause stress and depression in my family”.
2. Over 13 million people (28%) now say they keep up with their rent or mortgage without any difficulty, a drop from 19 million people (41%) in 2009
3. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
4. In 2009 Shelter and Shelter Scotland commissioned an online survey from YouGov. Total sample size was 5438 adults.
5. The estimates of the number of adults in Great Britain affected are based on the latest estimates from the Office of National Statistics which indicate that there are 47.3 million adults in Great Britain. Source: ONS (2010): http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/product.asp?vlnk=15106
6. Shelter Scotland, the housing and homelessness charity. Shelter Scotland believes that everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
7. Spokespeople are available for interview, telephone the media office on 0844 515 2442.
8. For more information about Shelter Scotland visit www.shelter.org.uk
Contact: Neil Baldwin
Phone: 0844 515 2442