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Almost half of UK workers relying on loans, credit cards or overdrafts since COVID-19

Lily Canter
·2-min read
Some workers have relied on credit cards to pay for essentials during the pandemic, according to a new Hastee report. Credit: Getty.
Some workers have relied on credit cards to pay for essentials during the pandemic, according to a new Hastee report. Photo: Getty.

More than 40% of workers are now relying on at least one new loan, credit card or overdraft in order to make ends meet, according to new research.

Over a third of those surveyed said they were being even more cautious with their cash every month, while 27% needed to sacrifice essential purchases due to a lack of available cash.

Hastee's Workplace Wellbeing Study, which surveyed 2,000 people, also found that a third of respondents now have trouble sleeping due to money worries and two thirds have changed their spending habits due to the coronavirus pandemic.

These changes include shopping fewer times a month (35%) and spending less on luxuries (39%).

Meanwhile some 40% are regularly applying for high-cost credit options that they are struggling to pay back, and another 27% of workers, aged 18 to 24, never clear their personal debts every month.

Watch: Why have job losses risen despite the economy reopening?

READ MORE: UK job vacancies nearing pre-pandemic levels

A fifth of young people have relied on loans from friends and family between pay days. In some cases, this age group is regularly going without basic food or meals (16%) and heating (8%) to make ends meet.

“Our research has demonstrated the scale of the financial burdens being faced by British workers in 2020, which have only been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months,” said Hastee CEO James Herbert.

Freezes on credit and overdraft payments are due to come to an end on 31 October but the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is proposing new guidance to ensure firms provide tailored support to people still facing financial hardship due to the coronavirus crisis after October.

This would cover credit cards, store cards, catalogue credit, personal loans, overdrafts, motor finance, buy-now-pay-later, rent-to-own, pawnbroking and high-cost short-term credit products, regardless of whether the individual had already received support or not.

Watch: What is the new job support scheme?