Around seven million people are turning to credit to try to keep a roof over their heads, research by housing charity Shelter reveals.
Almost one in seven of those – just under one million people – have resorted to payday loans to cover rent or mortgage payments in the past year.
As The Independent warned last month, payday lenders are cashing in on the millions struggling with their finances who are unable to borrow from mainstream lenders – charging extortionate interest rates of up to 5,000 per cent.
The survey, published today, reveals the true scale of the problem. Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "These shocking findings show the extent to which millions of households across the country are desperately struggling to keep their home.
"Turning to short-term payday loans to help pay for the cost of housing is totally unsustainable. It can quickly lead to debts snowballing out of control and to eviction or repossession and ultimately homelessness."