London, 16th November 2011 - According to new research* from Consumer Focus and Citizen’s Advice, the number of people with energy debts has risen by a quarter for electricity and a fifth for gas, with the latest figures suggesting 1.5m people are in debt in the UK. These findings are backed up by recent research** carried out by online credit information expert, Equifax, which revealed that a massive 73.8% of consumers say they are worried about the rise in fuel bills this winter.
Nearly half (49%) of all respondents to the Equifax survey say they have taken steps to reduce outgoings by switching providers of various services, such as energy, home and car insurance or mobile phone. Of these 47.2% said they had switched energy provider in the hope of bringing costs down.
Further illustrating concerns about family finances is the fact that nearly half of respondents to the Equifax survey (42.5%) said that they are worried about the security of their job next year and almost three quarters (72.6%) do not think they will be getting a pay rise next year, or don’t know if they will. Both of these concerns have increased compared to a year ago when Equifax customers were asked the same questions. In November 2010, 66.4% of respondents to the Equifax survey did not believe they would be getting a pay rise this year. And 36.8% were worried about their future job security.
“The fact that a large proportion of our customers have already switched energy providers as well as reviewing other financial services providers such as home and motor insurance, shows that consumers are preparing for possible further financial instability” said Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax. “Taking action sooner rather than later will ensure they do not get into a situation where they are starting to fall behind on payments, as this will only cause them further financial problems in the long run.”
*Figures, from spring 2011, include 850,000 electricity customers and 700,000 gas consumers
**Equifax 2011 Finances Survey - 1,166 respondents
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