One in five Britons now say they are struggling or unable to make ends meet

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
May 26, 2022, 11:02 AM GMT+0

Half say their financial situation has become worse in the last month

With the rising cost of living continuing to dominate the list of people’s concerns, the government is set to announce a raft of measures aimed at easing Britons’ financial burden.

A new YouGov survey reveals the extent of the damage to people’s finances, with the number of people saying they are struggling or unable to make ends meet doubling in the last year.

One in six Britons (17%) say of their household financial situation: “I can only just afford my costs and often struggle to make ends meet”. This figure has risen from 11% in mid-May 2021.

A further 5% say “I cannot afford my costs, and often have to go without essentials like food and heating”, a figure that was 1% last year.

One in three Britons (37%) describe their financial situation as “I do not often have money for luxuries, but can normally comfortably cover the essentials”, while an identical figure say they are either “relatively” or “very” comfortable financially.

While most Britons don’t consider themselves to have moved between these semantic financial categories, they nevertheless report that their situation is getting worse.

Half of Britons (50%) say their household financial situation has deteriorated in the last month, while 41% say there has been no change. Only 4% say things have improved for them.

More still expect their finances to get worse in the next year (60%), with just 21% expecting to tread water, and 7% thinking they will get better.

Some have suggested that the government’s decision to introduce the cost of living measures is a cynical attempt to distract people from the latest developments in the ‘partygate’ saga. Regardless of whether this is true, if the government wants to win the next election it would do well to recognise that its own voters are being hammered by the cost of living crisis.

Half of 2019 Conservative voters (48%) say their finances have become worse in the last month, and 60% expect them to deteriorate in the next 12 months. Labour voters are faring worse still, with 57% saying they got worse last month and 64% expecting them to fall further over the next year.

The number of Tories saying they are struggling or failing to make ends meet has also increased from 11% a year ago to 16% now. Among Labour voters, this figure has doubled from 13% to 26%.

See the latest results here