A new study has revealed the extent of the ‘debt disease‘ spreading amongst workers in the UK.
The report from union Unite, has shown that as many as one in eight workers is regularly forced to borrow money at sky-high interest rates from payday lenders in the week before payday, because they simply have no cash left.
The research carried out by Mass1 on behalf of Unite, was performed amongst 24,000 workers and the ‘shocking’ results showed that a rife ‘debt disease’ was particularly prevalent in the week before payday.
Interviewers found that in around 15% of cases, payday loans were being taken out to pay for utility bills, while two in five said they needed the money to keep a roof over their head and to buy food. Many workers also admitted they had cut back on healthy food, because of the cost and said they were finding top supermarkets too expensive to shop in.
The general secretary of Unite, Len McCluskey, said the results were proof of the ‘horrific strain’ that men and women across the country are suffering and the true impact of the austerity measures the government are continuing to implement. Mr McCluskey added that whilst ministers may be making progress in paying off the national deficit, workers were being forced into the arms of ‘vultures,’ because they simply do not have enough money to pay for their living essentials.
The union representative added that workers were having to hand over several days’ worth of wages to payday lenders each month, to repay what they borrowed, rather than having the cash to help prop up the economy by spending it in shops and stimulating growth. Mr McCluskey dismissed the ‘grossly irresponsible’ attitude of those in charge of the country, describing it as a ‘crazy way’ to look after the nation’s finances.