Farmers are at greater risk than many other professions of falling into sudden and unexpected poverty, according to figures from a national welfare charity.
Elizabeth Finn Care, which offers financial and emotional support to people whose careers have been interrupted or ended, reports that farmers make up the ninth largest group helped by the charity.
People are judged to be “in poverty” if they are living on less than £100/week once council tax, water charges and rent or mortgage have been deducted.
The charity says farmers often find themselves living below the breadline after injury, sickness or depression forces them to leave work.
“The physically demanding nature of their work and the unsocial hours, instability and financial stresses associated with the sector mean pressures are high,” it says.
“On top of this, many have minimal pension provision, meaning even those who have worked all their lives can find themselves without the money to afford basic things, like healthy food and warm clothes, in retirement.”
Spokeswoman Marianne ten Kate said the charity believed there were many more farmers who would be eligible for their support if they came forward.
“We’re working hard to reach out to those in the farming industry who’ve found themselves in financial and emotional difficulties, but understandably people are often too embarrassed to ask for help,” she said.
Elizabeth Finn Care offers financial support for one-off items like a replacement fridge or household repairs, as well as longer-term allowances to help people to rebuild their lives.
It is estimated the UK has four million people living in hidden poverty and more than half of these are homeowners, who keep their money problems hidden from those around them.