Low-income mortgage holders struggle to pay bills

Low-income Australian families with a mortgage have struggled to pay their electricity bills over the past year to a much greater extent than their middle-income equivalents.

According to a survey by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, 53 per cent of low-income earners with a home loan have struggled to make electricity payments during the year compared with 20 per cent of middle-income households with a mortgage, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The report also found that low-income households and households with three or more occupants were more likely to ask for help from their power supplier.

Commenting on the findings, the tribunal's chief executive, Jim Cox, noted that low-income households with financial commitments such as a mortgage were finding it hard to keep on top of bills.

''The question is whether we have the best assistance programs we should have, and whether we are getting the right assistance to the right people," he said.

Australians struggling with mortgage repayments and other bills could choose to compare home loans and consider refinancing. The Sydney Morning Herald speculated that affordability problems could get worse for low-income families next year as both interest rates and electricity prices are predicted to rise.

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