British finances squeezed


British finances squeezed
Britain is feeling the squeeze of the credit crunch, rising prices and economic downturn, but they are refusing to get their knickers in a twist, new research reveals.
Research by Mintel shows 51 per cent of people still class themselves as comfortably well-off or managing, compared to 64 per cent in 2006.
Meanwhile, there has been a jump in those saying that even though they are getting by, things are pretty tight - rising from 25 per cent in 2006 to 39 per cent this year.
The number of people struggling and missing debt repayments has doubled but remains low at just four per cent.
A total of 46 per cent of adults have outstanding non-mortgage debts.
"The good news is that the vast majority of people can still afford to make ends meet," Toby Clark, Mintel senior finance analyst said.
"But there has clearly been a deterioration in people's perception of their financial situation over the past two years, as rising interest rates and higher living costs have really started to take hold."
The effects of rising prices were also seen in the number of people turning to credit cards to make ends meet.
As credit card borrowing and the cost of living rise, savings fall.
The Mintel research shows the number of people who have emergency savings has fallen from 43 per cent in 2006 to 29 per cent this year. 
This matches finding from the Office for National Statistics which puts the savings ratio down to its lowest level at just over 1.1 per cent for the first quarter of 2008.
Young people were particularly unlikely to have savings, with 53 per cent having no savings and unsecured debt.
"Rising food and fuel prices combined with higher interest rates means that people are now having to find quite a bit more money each month to maintain their standard of living," Mr Clark said.
"And while some are clearly using plastic to cover the rising living costs and mortgage repayments, others are dipping into their savings."
He added the savings ratio is also on the decline because for many there is simply nothing left in the pot at the end of the month to put away.

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