Almost one in five have no cash left after buying basics

Almost one in five people has no cash left over after spending on essentials, a study has found.

Consumers are around £10 a month worse off than they were a year ago and it is people in the north who are most likely to be struggling.

Calderdale Citizens Advice Bureau say the report matches their experiences.

Rory Deighton, from the charity said there has been a rise in people going for help.

“If you are up to your limit on mortgage, credit cards and unsecured loans, and overtime at work dry’s up, or you are made redundant, then you can very quickly fall into financial difficulty,” said Mr Deighton.

Five years ago customers going to Citizens Advice were predominantly unemployed, or old, or people with disabilities, or literacy issues and only 15 per cent of those were employed.

Now up to 40 per cent of those needing help are employed - showing the recession is hitting people from all walks of life.

The numbers being helped by the charity are increasing. In 2004 the charity helped 6,000 people in Calderdale. This year that will rocket to 14,000.

“A significant proportion of that growth has come from working people, whose finances are run too tight, and who don’t have the resilience of money in the bank or savings to cope with life’s uncertainties. So when something goes wrong- they are very quickly in trouble,” said Mr Deighton.

Jatin Patel, director of current accounts of Lloyds TSB, said: “It is worrying that a fifth of consumers currently say that they have no spending power, after they have covered all bills and essential spending.

“Any further squeeze on their wallets will certainly be felt.”

The UK-wide study questioned 2,553 consumers in January and includes research into Lloyds TSB current accounts.

Mr Deighton urged people to get help if they are in financial difficulties.

“Whether you are working or not, our advice is always to seek advice as quickly as is possible from CAB,” he said.

But he warned people to beware as some companies offering debt office online will charge for services which are often free.