Almost one-quarter of the population will be unable to afford Christmas.

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Almost one-quarter of the population will be unable to afford Christmas.

According to a debt relief organization, over one-quarter of Americans who celebrate Christmas (24%) would be unable to afford it this year.

According to StepChange Debt Charity, less than half (45%) of those celebrating Christmas claimed they will be able to comfortably afford festive spending this year, compared to 50% who said they could comfortably afford it last year.

To pay for Christmas, more than a fifth (22%) of respondents plan to cut back on other spending.

Around one in every twelve people (8%) who celebrate Christmas will borrow to pay for it, compared to 5% last year.

A quarter (24%) of those who anticipate to borrow money for Christmas estimate it will take a year or more to pay it back.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents who borrowed to pay for Christmas said they were driven by rising household costs, while a quarter (25%) mentioned reduced income and 16% said they were influenced by the recent loss of the temporary Universal Credit uplift.

12 percent of Christmas debtors cited the cessation of Covid-19 support measures like the furlough arrangement as a reason.

The most frequent type of credit expected to be used by persons who wish to borrow is a credit card. People expect to use buy now, pay later as the second most popular type of borrowing.

A clear split emerged in the study of more than 2,000 people between those whose financial status has improved since the outbreak and those who have done less well.

Some 27% of respondents say their finances are worse now than they were before the outbreak, while 16% say they are better off.

“Christmas, while a time of joy for many, can be challenging if you’re struggling financially,” said Phil Andrew, CEO of StepChange.

“Millions of people are still attempting to pay off debts incurred during the pandemic, while growing living costs and the overall struggle to make ends meet make it difficult for households to balance their budgets even without the added expense of Christmas.”

“Most individuals would rather their loved ones have a financially prosperous new year than give them gifts that will take months or even years to pay off.”

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