High rents and mortgages in England mean too many families are skimping on heating and winter clothes to make ends meet, says housing charity Shelter. More than a quarter of families polled said they skimped on winter clothing and fuel to pay housing costs. And 10% told researchers they feared being unable to pay rents or mortgages in January. Some 15% of the parents interviewed also said they had to economise on Christmas food and gifts.
A shortage of affordable homes has left families struggling with sky-high housing costs, says the charity. Last year more than 100,000 people phoned its helpline for housing debt advice.
"We cut back on everything to pay the rent, including food," said Michelle, a mother from Cambridge. "Even though my husband works as many hours as he can, it's constantly hand to mouth."