A NEW survey has revealed that Barnsley residents affected by benefit changes have run out of money to pay for food and utility bills over the last 12 months.

Barnsley Advice Network, who have collated the information, is made up of various organisations such as Barnsley Council's welfare rights service, Citizens' Advice, DIAL, Age UK, the Romero Project and Yorkshire Housing.

They've all seen a rise in clients in recent years and believe the recession, coupled with the overhaul of the benefits system, have had a significant impact on demand for their services.

The network decided to carry out research on 125 people who received advice between May and July to try and understand the impact welfare reform is having on clients.

At a council watchdog meeting Pat Heath, the chief executive of the Citizens' Advice Bureau, told members the survey had yielded some interesting results.

He said: "A number of findings came to light, with 82 per cent of clients saying changes have made them more worried about the future, 76 per cent thought it had made them feel more stressed and 69 per cent said the changes had made them depressed.

"With the rising cost of living affecting clients, 58 per cent said over the past 12 months they had run out of money to pay for food at some point and 57 per cent said they've been unable to pay utility bills at some point over the last 12 months. Only 50 per cent said they could afford to keep their home warm enough."

In addition Pat said 89 per cent of those asked said they couldn't afford to save £50 a month for a rainy day or retirement and 84 per cent stated they couldn't afford to replace a large electrical item if it broke down.

The survey also found 24 per cent of people said they would use door step or pay day lenders if they needed a loan and the majority of those were aged 25 to 34 or 45 to 54.