Conor Pope reports that 47% of adults have less than €100 per month to spend. That sums up the scale of misery in our society.

The Irish Times – Monday, April 16, 2012
Up to 47% of adults have less than €100 a month after bills
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CONOR POPE, Consumer Affairs Correspondent

UP TO 47 per cent of Irish adults have less than €100 to spend by the
end of the month once bills are paid.And nearly two-thirds have less
to spend than they did this time last year, the latest income tracking
survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) has claimed.

Some 28 per cent of homeowners said they could not afford to pay the
household charge, while 45 per cent said they were struggling to cover
the cost of keeping their cars on the road as a result of increases in
motor tax and a dramatic rise in the price of fuel in the Republic.

According to the ILCU, 84 per cent of those surveyed who have less
than 5 per cent of their disposable income to spend once essential
bills are paid are worried about how they will cope if unforeseen
expenses crop up, a slight increase on the December figure.

Those surveyed are particularly concerned about their ability to
continue coping financially if further changes are made to social
welfare or income tax.

The survey also found that 57 per cent of people struggling to pay
their bills said they were living to work as opposed to working to
live.

It is the first “What’s Left” tracker index published by the ILCU in
2012, and follows on from four similar surveys published last year. It
records household expenditure, how much disposable income people have,
where they are spending it and the financial hardships they are
facing. It was conducted by market research company iReach in March
and featured responses from 1,000 adults.

The survey found 45 per cent of motorists were “really struggling”
with the increased cost of motoring, while 7 per cent were considering
giving up or selling their car altogether. Two-thirds of motorists
said they had put off servicing their car because they could not
afford it. While 64 per cent said they would be open to using public
transport instead, 47 per cent said public transport options in their
area were poor.

Mortgage and rent are the most expensive bills for most Irish adults
with 74 per cent ranking the expense as number one. Groceries were the
second most expensive bill ahead of utilities.

The ILCU said 47 per cent of consumers are now struggling to pay all
their bills on time, down from the 55 per cent recorded in December
2011. Consumers are most likely to defer payment of bills such as TV
licence, bin charges and TV/telecoms.

It also found 42 per cent of households said they had no intention of
paying the household charge, with almost one in three people
homeowners saying they could not afford it. Some 8 per cent said they
would wait until they were threatened with legal action before paying.