Half of families are struggling with regular bills.

THE Irish League of Credit Unions says that half of families across the country are struggling to pay their regular bills as the recession shows no signs of ending anytime soon.

In a report published today more than a quarter of respondents said that they had very little money left after all of their domestic bills had been taken care of each month.

The survey asked 1,000 people a series of questions about their finances and found that more than three-quarters (83 per cent) expected 2012 to be even tougher than 2011.

Nearly eight per cent of people find it impossible to cover monthly bills while almost a third said they would give up private health insurance if there were any more premium rises.

ILCU CEO Kieron Brennan said, “Fuel and energy price increases have had a significant impact on the spending ability of the Irish population.”

Meanwhile, a separate survey by employer’s group Ibec says that three-quarters of companies have no plans to increase wages this year.

The pay survey published  today says that 76 per cent of companies had a pay freeze in 2011 and that 74 per cent planned to freeze pay or reduce it in 2012.

Ibec director Brendan McGinty called on the Government to restore confidence in the domestic economy adding that job protection and creation were the top priority for most businesses this year.