Slave #Britain: 2.5m people will have to borrow to afford heating at Christmas (#ids #bedroomtax)

winterfuelA shocking report by Circle Housing, and affordable housing group, found that millions of people will struggle to heat their homes over Christmas and the winter period.

The findings of the report suggest that 7 million people will be forced to take out a loan to cover extra heating costs as cold weather is due to set in.

A third of borrowers told Circle that the loan would be used to pay for additional energy costs over the winter period, and 4 million say the loan will be to pay for festive food and drink. 1in 20 borrowers will use a payday loan company while 150,000 will use an unofficial lender or a loan shark.

Matt Gaskin, financial inclusion officer for Circle Housing told the Independent newspaper “Christmas is always a time of year that household budgets can get stretched and people start to feel the pinch. However, with the recent rises in energy bills we are more worried than ever before that people will turn to payday lenders or loan sharks, particularly some of the most vulnerable sections of society.”

The British Energy Aid Report by the New Policy Institute estimates that 3.6 million households can get energy assistance.

Elderly and low income families could qualify for the £135 Warm Home Discount on their energy bills and should telephone the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 55 99 for advice, or visit their website at http://www.homeheathelpline.org.uk/ to see if they qualify.

As the government’s austerity measures are going to make the Christmas period difficult, if not downright miserable, for millions of families all over Britain, the shambles that calls itself ‘government’ will no doubt be enjoying a very jolly Christmas as they celebrate surviving this far and the obscene amounts of cash they will no doubt have made at the expense of the taxpayer.

It is at times like these that our thoughts should be with the vulnerable in society – especially the elderly who have to survive on the little they get in state pension. Hardly an apt reward for spending most of their lives contributing to a corrupt system which allows Cameron and his ilk to add more value to their already swollen bank accounts and share portfolios.

Follow @martynjsymons

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