Thursday, August 1, 2013

1/8/2013: Anatomy of the Personal Crises: QNHS Q3 2012

CSO has published Q3 2012 survey concerning the Effect on Households of the Economic Downturn: here.

Some core findings:

  • 82% of households cut spending on at least one of the main categories of expenditure as a result of the economic downturn in the 12 months before July-September 2012. 
  • Nearly a quarter of all households indicated that they had cut back on five or more categories of spending out of 9 categories listed.
  • Over 1/3 of households who used a car had cut back on their expenditure on this means of transport.
  • "Some 14% of owner occupied households with a mortgage were unable to make mortgage repayments on time at least once in the previous twelve months due to financial difficulties." This number is strangely well below the current rate of mortgages arrears by accounts. Does this suggest that households tend to overstate their financial health?
  • "On the rental side 19% of all renting households failed to pay rent on time at least once."
  • 43% of households "indicated that they had experienced difficulties in keeping up with their bills and debts."
  • "Two fifths of individuals were concerned about their level of personal debt. Over half of these said that they were currently more concerned than they had been twelve months previously. Only 5% indicated that their level of concern had decreased."
  • "households consisting of one adult aged 65 or over said they had the least difficulty" paying bills and funding debt (27%).
  • "Of households where the reference person was at work 41% experienced difficulty [paying bills and funding debt] compared with 73% where the reference person was unemployed." Note that 41% is a frightening number, still.
  • "Looking specifically at those households which had experienced difficulty in managing bills and debts, 47% of them said that it was due to loss of income, 73% said it was due to higher than expected or additional costs and 5% said the difficulty was due to other reasons."
  • "Looking more deeply into the type of higher or additional costs mentioned by those households for whom it caused difficulty, 90% of those households mentioned higher or additional utility bills , 32% mentioned higher or additional school, college or university costs, 17% mentioned higher or additional medical or dental costs and 15% mentioned higher or additional loan or mortgage repayments" Now, run through these again. All of them are state-controlled and state-regulated services, ex mortgages and loans. That's the cost of Irish State policy of extracting rents out of already stretched households.

And a handy chart summarising demographics of debt crisis:
That's right: core crisis impact on debt side - 25-54 year olds, majority with kids and homes, just the crowd that the Government is targeting for cash extraction via higher prices and charges for services like health, health insurance, transport, energy, utilities, education... you name it.

And as you read data in Table 1.1.1. showing details of the households experiencing financial difficulty due to loss of income, classified by main reasons over 12 months prior to July-September 2012, keep in mind - almost all 'employment creation' in the labour market that the Government and 'green jerseys' keep talking about is taking place in the part-time jobs, which cannot cover the true cost of living in this country.

Finally, take a look at Table 1.2. This shows the extent of debt restructuring delivered by the 'reformed' banks. At 7% total - it is laughably low.

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