Nearly one in five adults have had to skip a payment over the last 12 months as inflationary pressures weighed finances down, a specialist lender has discovered
Research conducted by Bluestone Mortgages found that 18%, or 9.7 million adults, have missed a payment over the past year.
A total of 7% were found to have missed a payment on either mortgages, utility bills or credit card debts.
Meanwhile, 5% said that they were unable to cover a tax bill or a loan repayment.
The study also showed that missing payments was unlikely to be a one-off, as just over seven in ten of those who missed a credit card payment did so more than once.
Similarly, more than three-quarters or a total of 78% adults missed a utility payment on more than one occasion.
Inflation in the UK may have dropped to two-year low of 4.6% in October, but the research revealed that nearly half of adults are worried over the impact of the recent inflationary environment on their ability to pay off the mortgage.
Interest rates are currently at a 15-year high of 5.25%, and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has recently warned that the base rate will not be cut in the “foreseeable future”.
Seeking help does not come easily for some of those who are facing mounting financial pressures, as one in seven said that they were too embarrassed to seek any support to help ease their worries.
Meanwhile, 13% said they would not know where to start to look for help over financial burdens.
Additionally, more than one in ten or 12% said they would feel too embarrassed about how their finances came to be in such a bad state, and 9% expressed their concern about the impact on their credit score.
Lack of support
The lender’s study revealed that there was a lack of understanding of the support options available, as 17% were unaware that help is accessible from a their mortgage lender or energy provider in times of trouble.
Over a third are aware of the support but don’t know how it could help them.
Reece Beddall, head of sales and marketing, Bluestone Mortgages, said: “The ongoing cost-of-living crisis and squeeze on affordability are taking their toll, with one in seven having missed a payment over the last year. This undoubtedly has a knock-on effect on someone’s credit score and can impact their ability to borrow.
“However, rather than shying away from talking about the state of their finances and ending up in financial difficulty, we must encourage people to seek the help and support they need. The mortgage industry has a key role to play in supporting those who are embarrassed to talk about their financial situation.
“For brokers, this involves creating a safe space for their customers to discuss their unique circumstances and any credit issues, while lenders should place greater emphasis on education to help increase people’s financial awareness.
“It’s our duty as an industry to signpost customers to the support options available to suit their unique circumstances.”