More than one in five Britons have had to take out loans in order to put food on the table and meet their energy bills, research has found.
Around 10 million adults, just over one in five (21%) people, needed to take out a loan in the last year, according to research by affordable housing provider Circle Housing Group.
More than half (56%) of the borrowers surveyed said they expected to continue relying on loans next year.
A third of borrowers (28%) used the loans to pay for food and basic living essentials, while one in five needed them to help cover mortgage and credit payments (21%) or energy bills (17%).
One in five borrowers said they took out a loan in the last year to cover one-off payments, like replacing essential white goods (20%) or paying for Christmas (19%). This comes as major payday lender Wonga enjoyed a record £63 million in profits for 2012.
Matt Earnshaw, Circle's group financial inclusion manager, said: “These figures are very concerning and demonstrate the difficulties that many people are currently facing when it comes to managing their day to day finances.
“In the social housing sector we know many are struggling to deal with rising food bills and spiralling energy costs and are being caught out by emergencies and life changing events, such as ill health, which can make debt become unmanageable.
“Our general advice to anyone in this position is to get help right away and deal with the debt quickly."