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More families 'left short of money'

Around one million more families are failing to make ends meet as they struggle to cope amid the double-dip recession, a study suggests.

Around 3.3 million UK households are spending more than their income on paying bills and debts, up from an estimated 2.1 million when a similar study was carried out last September, Legal & General's Money Mood survey found.

Families in this category are typically falling short by just under £74 a month, the study said, although this average is an improvement on the same survey three months ago, when they were around £96 short each month.

However, the overall monthly shortfall across the nation has risen, due to the higher number of households sinking into debt or plundering their savings, to an estimated £244 million each month.

Mark Gregory, Legal & General executive director, savings, said: "Around 3.3 million households in the UK say they are spending more than their income on paying bills and debts.

"That's more than a million higher than back in September last year, just as the first quarter of the double-dip recession was about to kick in."

Unemployment, low wage growth and soaring bills have all placed intense pressure on household budgets.

Some 16% of people questioned in April described themselves as struggling, and not managing to cover their bills, compared with 11% in September last year.

Around 42% of those questioned in April said they were surviving, meaning they were managing to cover their bills and debts, down on 44% of people questioned in September.

A further 39% of people described themselves as stable, and therefore saving some money in April, compared with 45% who said this in September. Around 1,000 adults take part in the regular study.