Sunday 21 January 2018

Almost two-thirds of the population admit they still struggle to pay their bills

The study, which is based upon the views of 1,000 Irish people, was carried out last November
The study, which is based upon the views of 1,000 Irish people, was carried out last November
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

Almost two-thirds of the population have admitted they are still struggling to pay their household bills.

Some 61pc of Irish adults revealed that they are finding it difficult to pay their bills from "time to time or most of the time", according to the latest Eurobarometer survey.

The study, which is based upon the views of 1,000 Irish people, was carried out last November.

And according to the report, Ireland is now ranked fifth highest in the EU in terms of people admitting to struggling to pay their bills over the last 12 months.

While 61pc of Irish consumers said they had difficulty paying bills, the EU average was just 38pc.

Meanwhile 40pc of the population said they still rate our current economic situation as "bad", while one-fifth believe it is "very bad", despite the fact that we exited the bailout programme last year.

However, this represents a significant decrease on the 41pc who rated it as "very bad" in November 2010, when Ireland sought assistance from the IMF.

Despite the negative ratings of our current situation, it seems there is a strong sense of optimism, as 45pc of the people surveyed said they expect the economy to get better over the next 12 months.

This figure is significantly above the EU average of 22pc and is the highest level of optimism expressed by the Irish population in over 15 years.

Just over half of people now believe that Ireland is "going in the right direction", well above the EU average of 26pc.

"This development coincided with the country's exit from the EU/IMF programme," the report said.

"This is the highest number of people expressing that the country is going in the right direction since March 2006. When we compare this score against other member states, only the Maltese exhibit greater levels of optimism about their country's direction. Irish confidence (51pc) far outweighs the EU average."

There has also been an increase in the levels of trust and positivity towards the EU, with 53pc people now declaring to have a "positive image" of it.

Distrust

This represents a dramatic increase of 12pc since early last year, and is the highest number of people admitting to this in six years.

While just 37pc of people are now claiming to trust the EU, the majority (47pc) still say they "distrust it".

However, the gap between the two groups has decreased by 11 points since November 2013 and demonstrates the "highest levels of trust expressed in the EU in Ireland since the summer of 2011".

"This suggest, that as the economic situation has improved and with the end of EU/IMF assistance, trust is beginning to re-emerge," said the report.

Irish Independent

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