THOUSANDS of desperate families in Nuneaton and Bedworth are tottering on the brink of financial catastrophe, despite being in work and not claiming benefits.
Shock figures revealed in a survey by a national newspaper paint a shocking picture for many people in the borough.
They show that 9,318 or 18 per cent of the 51,948 households in the borough are living under extreme financial stress.
The survey describes them as being just ‘one small step from financial crisis.’
Many of them have little or no savings or equity in their homes and struggle at the end of each month to put food into their children’s mouths.
They say they are unable to cope on their current incomes and have no assets to fall back on, leaving them vulnerable to something as simple as an unexpectedly large fuel bill that could push them over the abyss.
An increasing number are reaching out for help to the Citizens Advice Bureau.
But that organisation has been badly hit by reductions in funding, leaving already overburdened caseworkers to cope with the growing demand.
David Gooding, manager of Bedworth, Rugby and Nuneaton Citizens Advice Bureau (BRANCAB), admitted: “These findings are very worrying.
“We are seeing an increased number of people approaching our service because of the recession and the government’s welfare reforms agenda which is particularly impacting on disabled people, but will widen to other groups as further reforms are introduced.”
The CAB chief said that the findings of the survey challenge government’s claim that people are better off in work than on benefits.
He added: “It seems ironic that at a time when demand for social welfare law advice in areas such as debt, welfare benefits and employment is rising,. The Coalition Government has taken these areas out of scope for Legal Aid funding, leaving advice agencies, such as BRANCAB, with less resources to help struggling families and denying them the support and help they need in times of difficulties.”
The survey has shown that nationally 2.2 million children live in families ‘teetering on an economic cliff edge’ Startlingly, the households who say they are in the deepest trouble are ones in which one or both adults earn low to middle incomes.
They include couples without children who earn a gross national income of between £12,000 and £29,000 or couples with two children on between £17,000 and £41,000.