UNISON research shows that a third of low paid public service workers have had to ask friends or family for financial support to make ends meet, and more than one in three rely on credit cards for everyday spending. Many others have taken out loans including high interest payday loans, or rely on buy now pay later providers like Klarna and Clearpay.
Bills like water, energy and council tax keep piling up, which can result in terrifying visits from bailiffs, spiralling fees and court summons. Without a pay rise, these debts are becoming harder and harder to repay. This vicious cycle means this crisis will be felt long after the storm has passed for other households who aren’t in debt.
It isn’t rocket science: worrying about money is extremely stressful. Many people are finding themselves at breaking point – UNISON’s research shows that 84% of low paid public service workers say pressures on their household budgets is having a serious effect on their health.
A pay rise is the best way to help households manage their bills and tackle any debt they have accumulated. It is also important that action is taken to deal with the impact that debt and worrying about finances is already having, with all evictions and bailiff action to enforce household bills frozen for the duration of this cost-of-living crisis, serious levels of investment in mental health support and direct financial support to heavily indebted households.
UNION’s charity, There For You, helps members who are feeling overwhelmed by their household finances or who are struggling with debt. There For You provides a confidential advice and support service for members and their dependants. It also offers financial assistance, budget planners, help with taking a wellbeing break and grants for energy bills and school uniforms.