Three and a half million young Brits say that they have borrowed money to pay for food according to research conducted by Debt Advisory CentreIn total seven million adults have borrowed money to pay for food, another four and half million have borrowed money to pay their rent or mortgage, highlighting the financial squeeze that many Brits face.

Young people are the hardest hit: half of those who have borrowed money for food are adults under the age of 34, compared to just 6% of those aged 55+. Of the 4.5 million adults who borrowed money to pay the rent or mortgage, one in three are 18–34 year olds, by contrast only 2 in 100 were 55+.

Perhaps not surprisingly, more Londoners borrow money for essential bills than any other region in the UK – with almost one in five (18%) saying that they’ve done so. Londoners also lead the way when it comes to the proportion that say they have borrowed to pay the rent – with 14% having done so.  People in the North East are the least likely to borrow for food or housing costs.

Debt expert, Melanie Taylor of Debt Advisory Centre, said: “Buying food and paying for the roof over your head are priority costs and it is quite alarming that many have to use credit to pay for these essential bills. Borrowing for essentials is a sure sign that your finances are overstretched. Review your finances and try to cut back where possible. If that isn’t possible then it makes sense to seek debt advice sooner rather than later.  If you start to miss repayments then interest and charges can quickly build up.”