South West workers lack protection cover

South West workers lack protection cover

People living in the South West of England are feeling increasingly financially squeezed.

In 2014, 38% of employees in the South West said their savings would last over six months in the event of being unable to work through injury or illness. A new survey of over 2,000 adults by Censuswide, on behalf of Cirencester Friendly Society, has seen this fall to just 29% in 2016.

The survey asked employees across the UK how many weeks of Contractual Sick Pay they had written into their employment contract. 47% of employees in the South West had none at all, compared with 40% in the rest of the UK.

In 2014, workers from the South West were the least likely to rely on the state for financial protection during a period of long-term illness – 43% compared to a national average of 53%. Today, this figure has risen by 9% to 52% in the South West and is now higher than the national average of 47%.

“These findings point to a worrying decline in the health of finances for those in the South West: savings are lasting less time than in 2014, and there is an increasing reliance on the state for protection,” said Rebecca Young, head of marketing at Cirencester Friendly.

“If you are unable to work due to illness or injury, the amount of money provided by the government via Statutory Sick Pay is less than £90 per week. This has increased by only 90p in two years, and represents a significant reduction in weekly income for more than three quarters of workers from the South West.

“Whilst the vast majority will not be affected, those who do suffer the misfortune of an extended leave of absence are likely to struggle to maintain their current way of life on government support alone. With the cost of living set to rise, those without adequate savings or insurance could face serious financial hardship.”