Six in ten Britons say they will need to cut other spending to fund coming energy bills

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
August 04, 2022, 8:28 AM GMT+0

The vast majority of people across all ranges of income are worried about the current price of energy

In their bid for the office of Prime Minister, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have promised to tackle the cost-of-living crisis – including rising energy costs. While Liz Truss has ruled out a windfall tax on energy companies wanting to encourage investment, Sunak has suggested removing VAT on energy bills.

Whoever the successful candidate is, they will need to waste no time in addressing the crisis, as new YouGov research shows Britons are deeply concerned about the cost of energy.

Some 78% of Britons say they are worried about the current price of their household's energy bills – including a third (37%) who are “very” worried about the cost. Only 18% of people claim not to be particularly concerned.

The concern is similar across varying levels of household income. Of those with the lowest household incomes (£19,999 a year or less), 83% say they are concerned about how much they spend on energy. A similar proportion (75%) of those with the highest household incomes (£60,000+) also say they are worried. However, those with lower incomes are more likely to be "very" worried (48% versus 31% respectively).

These high levels of concern follow the increase in the energy price cap that allowed energy companies to charge earlier this year. However, it also precedes another rise in the cap coming in October. Some experts have predicted that the coming hike to the price cap in the autumn could see bills rise as much as 46%*.

Nearly nine in ten Britons (88%) claim they were aware of the coming increase before taking part in the survey. The research further shows that most Britons (62%) expect to have to make at least small cuts to other spending to maintain their current energy use when the next price rise kicks in. This includes 30% who say they will need to cut large parts of their budget to maintain their energy use under the new prices.

A further 15% of people say they will be completely unable to afford their current energy use under the coming higher prices, regardless of cuts.

Just 14% of Britons expect to be able to take on the higher costs of their current energy use without cutting other spending.

Among the lowest income households (£19,999 a year or less), 30% say they will be unable to afford their current energy use under higher prices, while 55% say they will only be able to do so with cuts to other spending. Only 8% of people from these households say they will be able to afford their present energy use in the future without making cuts.

Even in those households on higher incomes, between 65% and 75% say they will need to make cuts to afford their current level of energy use. Among the households with the highest incomes (£60,000+), only 29% say they will be able to continue using the same level of energy without spending less in other areas.

*Predictions accurate to the time of the survey

Header image: Getty Images

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