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disposable income

One in four unable to cope with increased energy costs - survey

The latest Disposable Income Tracker by the Irish League of Credit Unions shows families’ concerns over making ends meet and heating their homes this winter.

Some 15 PER CENT of adults will have to use their savings to cover increases in energy bills, while a further two per cent say they will turn to moneylenders to make ends meet, according to a new survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions.

A quarter of people said they will simply not be able to cope with the increases.

One thousand adults around the country took part in the survey.

More than six out of ten of the survey’s respondents said they feel their disposable income has reduced since this time last year.

Eight per cent said they are unable to cover their essential household bills, while the number of people who say they have no money left over after paying their essential bills has increased from 7 per cent in June to 12 per cent last month.

A quarter of those surveyed said they get by on €70 a month after paying their essential bills. Almost half of those involved in the ICLU survey said they find it difficult to save in the current economic climate, but the number of people likely to save money has increased slightly since June to 36 per cent in September.

Meanwhile, nine out of ten people polled said they are worried about Budget 2012 and further tax increases and social welfare cuts. Almost half (47 per cent) said they have been significantly affected by the ECB rate increase in July.

ICLU CEO Kieron Brennan said that the Disposal Income Tracker survey shows “just how hard the ordinary people of Ireland are being hit by increasing household expenses”. Brennan said that impending increases to energy bills will hit families hard, with households worrying that they will not be able to adequately heat their homes over the winter.

“As we move into the winter and Christmas season, we are advising people to take a moment, sit down and look at what their expenses are likely to be over the coming three months -  where are the areas that you will need to concentrate on and where can you reduce spend,” he said.

Although more householders are struggling to pay their energy bills, recent figures released show that the number of disconnections from electricity and gas services has been decreasing this year. ESB Electric Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy advise customers who are having difficulty making their payments to contact them to consider arranging a payment plan and to discuss their options with the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).

Read: Electricity and gas disconnections down this year >

Read: IBEC expects pay freezes to continue next year >

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