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Nine out of 10 Belfast shift workers fear they can't afford Christmas

Nine out of 10 shift workers in Belfast fear they will not be able to afford Christmas this year, according to new research

NINE out of 10 shift workers in Belfast fear they will not be able to afford Christmas this year, according to new research.

Figures from financial wellbeing experts, Wagestream have revealed the alarming financial stress that faces household during the festive season.

A total of 89 per cent of those surveyed feel they can't afford Christmas this year, while over three quarters (78 per cent) admitted to being worried, anxious or even depressed about the cost of Christmas, with nearly half (48 percent) worrying once or more a day about the cost.

The most pressing money stresses for workers in Belfast are not being able 'afford the type of Christmas that their family deserves' (48 per cent) and 'having to pay for everything' (44 per cent).

Most expect to pay around £582 on gifts, food and travel over the festive period, but 86 percent admit to almost always going over budget.

Of further concern is the fact the average person is set to put £230 of their festive expenditure on credit cards or loans

Belfast residents expect to be paying off their Christmas debt for nearly four months, meaning they'll be in the red until April.

In order to reduce the unwanted financial street, respondents are looking for more support from their employer, with all stating they would do more shifts over the festive period if it meant they could access their pay as soon as they have earned it.

Peter Briffett, CEO and co-founder of Wagestream said it is time for businesses to accept accountability for the true cost of Christmas on working people, and help address the problem

“The data makes clear that staff want more certainty and more financial flexibility from their employers. This is a huge opportunity for businesses in the UK: offering the ability to access earned income before late-January will help staff avoid the ‘payday poverty' cycle of overdrafts, credit cards and high-interest loans - improving employee wellbeing, productivity and retention in the process.”

Erik Porter, head of adult and industry programmes at The Money Charity added:

“Being on top of your money means you are more in control of your life; it has a huge impact on your day-to-day wellbeing, including productivity at work.

"These findings offer businesses a valuable chance to better understand their workforce, and begin offering the types of flexibility and benefits that will really help the British workforce better manage their money over the festive period.”

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