Cost of living crisis: one in four have had to cut essential spending

August 25, 2022, 8:44 AM GMT+0

Two in five of those in the lowest income households have had to make cutbacks in key areas

Britain is experiencing the worst cost of living crisis in a generation. Inflation has now soared past 9% - the highest it has been in 40 years - with no clear end in sight. This has also “driven the fastest fall in real pay on record”.

People are being faced with having to choose between heating and eating, as food and fuel poverty has more than tripled in a year and the energy price cap – which places a limit on how much energy companies are allowed to charge consumers – will rise yet again this October. Energy bill prices have now increased by 400% in the last year and 1,000% since 2019.

Amidst these increases, the vast majority of people believe the government is failing to tackle the situation. Over three quarters (77%) say the government is doing too little to help those struggling with the rising cost of living, including 64% of Conservative voters. Even Boris Johnson says that more needs to be done to address this crisis.

Almost all Britons (94%) say prices have increased in the last six months, with 83% saying that they have increased by “a lot”.

Rising prices mean many people have already had to make spending reductions, with two thirds (66%) saying they have already made some form of cut. This includes 23% who have already had to cut back on key essentials, and 43% who have had to cut back on non-essentials in order to maintain their essentials spending. Only 29% say they are untouched so far.

The number of those living in lower income households (less than £20,000 a year) who have already made some form of cuts increases to 76%, with the number who have had to cut key essentials rising as high as 39%.

But with prices looking like they will continue to rise, many anticipate having to make cuts or further cuts. Nearly three quarters (74%) expect to make future cuts, which includes 25% who haven’t yet had to make any spending sacrifices.

Just 12% of Britons say they have not made any cuts yet, nor expect to have to make any.

In what areas are people struggling to make do?

About four in ten Britons say they have struggled with food bills (42%) and energy bills (41%) in the past three months. Additionally 37% of motorists have struggled with the cost of fuel (a figure equivalent to 29% of all Britons).

Those in lower income households are much more likely to be struggling with energy bills (59%) and their food budgets (60%).

Explore more data & articles