*** DEBUG END ***

One in ten CAP clients ‘has no bed’

30 June 2017


MORE than one in ten people in debt do not have a bed to sleep in at night, and others have to rent a bed by the week because they can’t afford to buy their own, a report published by the charity Christians Against Poverty (CAP) suggests.

New survey data from 1200 of CAP’s new clients in the UK also found that one in three of those who came to them for help could not afford a washing machine, and a quarter could not buy a television.

The average annual income of those who came to the charity last year was £14,693, nearly £12,000 less than the average UK income. Owing to rising inflation and benefits cuts, the average income of clients had gone down over the year.

CAP’s Client Report, which was published earlier this month, says: “At just £1224 a month, clients face a relentless financial tightrope, which for many renders it near im­­possible to balance debt repay­ments and living costs, let alone build a savings buffer. Overall 89 per cent of CAP clients had income below the national average and 63 per cent were living below the poverty line.”

Renting beds is becoming in­­creas­ingly common in “austerity Britain”, it says. A single bed and single mat­tress can be rented for £6 a week, which over a three-year rent­­al period would amount to £754 — enough to buy six beds and mat­tresses.

The chief executive of CAP, Matt Barlow, said: “The nature of per­sonal debt and poverty has changed enor­mously over the last decade. Firstly, we’ve seen that priority debts like rent and utilities bills have tripled in size. The amount of secondary debt, like credit cards and payday loans, is decreasing because taking out credit is harder than it has been — and that’s a good thing.

“Secondly, when we talk about destitution, we used to be talking about people on the streets. Now we’re talking about the tragedy of families being re-homed into empty properties, or struggling to wash their clothes because their gas and electric has run out. It’s people like Mike, who we talked to last week, who was eating Weetabix for dinner because that’s all he could afford.”

Another client was forced to move with his children into an empty house, after bereavement and a relationship-breakdown caused debt. He describes how his daughter slept on a bin bag with a coat for a blanket for three months, before he turned to CAP for help.

CAP was opened 21 years ago and now has 600 centres across the UK, in partnership with 500 churches, but more churches are needed.

The charity wants to open 1000 centres by 2021. Mr Barlow said: “The need is great, and CAP is very keen to hear from churches interested in helping the poorest in their area. We want to resource the Church with training in these services, but also with funding training, with PR support, and evangelism. We need clergy to know that we’re open to that conversation — the main thing is that they want to help.”

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)