The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)

Surprise £500 bill would put many in debt

SURVEY: A third of middle class would have to borrow to pay unexpected bill

- Ryan Wilkinson

A third of middle-class people would have to borrow money in order to pay an unexpected bill of £500, according to a survey.

Research by YouGov for The Times found 31% of middle-class workers – including profession­als, junior managers and those in administra­tive jobs – would struggle to pay the surprise bill, while around one in 10 of the so-called ABC1 group would have to borrow to pay off a £100 bill immediatel­y.

The survey of more than 1,600 adults also found 46% of manual workers and the unemployed, classed as C2DE, would be unable to pay a £500 bill.

On average 38% of people across all social classes would have to borrow money to pay the same debt, with Scotland, the Midlands, and Wales seeing the toughest times.

Figures released by the Bank of England in April showed consumer credit growing at its fastest rate since 2005, raising fears borrowers may struggle with a rise in interest rates.

Of the people surveyed last month, 14% found themselves in severe financial straits and unable to pay off an unexpected bill of £100 without finding money elsewhere.

People aged 18-24 were the worst affected by the bigger bill of £500, with nearly half stating that they would not be able to pay, compared with around a quarter of pensioners.

Researcher­s found women were less likely to have cash available than men.

One-in-four people said they would need to resort to putting a £300 bill on their credit card before paying off in full, while 13% would have to pay off the unplanned debt over time.

Just less than one in 10 people said they would have to borrow from friends and family to settle the bill, and half said they would be able to pay for the bill from their current or savings accounts.

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