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Third of low-earning tenants borrowing to keep up with rent

A third of low-earning renters in Britain have been forced to borrow money to cover the cost of their rent, new research released today by Shelter has found.

New figures from a survey conducted by the housing charity showed how many people were being driven into debt to keep up with rising rental payments as half a million people on low income had to borrow from credit cards, overdrafts and family and friends to make ends meet.

Shockingly, a huge proportion – 70% – of respondents said that they were struggling or falling behind with their rent.

Shelter statistics suggest that around 800,000 people are only left with £10 a month to get by after paying their rent.

And with the UK’s snap election on the horizon on 8 June, the charity has called on the next government to invest in half a million new affordable homes over the course of the next Parliament – something that Labour promised voters in its leaked manifesto document.

Anne Baxendale, director of communications, policy and campaigns at Shelter, said: “It just isn’t right that so many hard-working private renters are having to take on desperate or dangerous debts just to keep a roof over their heads.”

She added that no family should have to choose between relying on their credit card to keep up with the rent or moving miles away from their jobs and schools to find a home they can actually afford.

“Right now, there’s nowhere for these people to turn but it doesn’t have to be this way,” she argued. “The next government must commit to building half a million new living rent homes to genuinely help ordinary families to get by and give them a firmer foundation for the future.”

Shelter’s report comes after a number of other warnings about the market that have said the housing sector is becoming totally unaffordable for low-earners.

This week, a leading think-tank warned that the market-led model was failing to provide affordable housing for residents across the country.

And in March, the Office for National Statistics reported that home prices had now soared to eight times earnings in many council areas.

Top Image: Dominic Lipinski PA Wire

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