Belfast Telegraph

Samaritans' poll shows money fears

More than two-thirds of the population are afraid they will not have enough money to live comfortably next year, new figures have shown.

Sixty-eight per cent of people are concerned about their personal finances for the year ahead, while almost half (49%) are worried about losing their jobs or struggling to find work, a Samaritans survey showed.

Samaritans of Ireland director Suzanne Costello said the recession is continuing to hit people hard.

"We've had more than 250,000 calls to Samaritans helpline over the past year, which is an increase of 9%," said Ms Costello.

The survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Samaritans, polled a sample of 1,000 people and found money worries to be the nation's biggest concern in 2011.

Over a quarter of those surveyed (27%) said last year was a bad year, if not their worst year ever.

Concerns about money and debts, mortgages, rent and housing, and job security and redundancy were among the most significant worries identified in the survey. Other worries included physical health issues, with 32% citing this as a serious issue, and problems with family and friends, with 37% saying this was a concern.

Moreover, 70% of those polled said they were worried they would suffer directly from spending cuts outlined in the Budget announced at the beginning of the month, including health, education and welfare. And a fifth admitted they were afraid they may actually lose their home in 2012.

"We know the effects of the recession have hit people hard," Ms Costello added.

"So if you're struggling to cope with the challenges you're facing in these difficult times, we'd encourage you to get in touch with Samaritans. Our service runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is available throughout the Christmas and New Year period."

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