Two fifths classed as in 'fuel poverty'
Household finances have stabilised over the past year, with the number of people struggling to pay bills remaining the same.
Legal & General’s latest MoneyMood Survey shows that of 1,000 people surveyed in October, 12% classed themselves as 'struggling', meaning they are unable to cover their bills, the same proportion as in September 2011.
Some 44% of respondents classed themselves as 'stable', meaning they have money left over at the end of the month, and another 44% said they were ‘surviving’, with enough income to cover bills and debt.
In September 2011, those figures were marginally different, with 45% classing themselves as stable and 43% as surviving.
But although household finances are in the same position as they were a year ago, they are significantly worse than in September 2010, when 50% of households had money left over at the end of the month.
And Legal & General is warning that as we enter the winter months, the cost of gas and electricity will become a significant contributor to household bills, which could leave many families unable to make ends meet.
In the October survey it monitored how many households are in 'fuel poverty' – classed by the Government as spending more than 10% of their income on gas and electricity – and found that 40% of respondents are either already or almost in that category.
Mark Gregory, executive director of savings at Legal & General, said the signs of stability in the economy over the past year appear to be reflected in the survey.
But he said: "However, higher inflation figures for October will not be welcome news and we believe the cost of fuel is likely to make balancing household finance even harder for those with lower incomes.
"With one in five already saying they are in fuel poverty and a further fifth 'almost' in fuel poverty any rise in the amount spent on fuel is likely to have a significant impact on how the less well off households cope with paying bills."