The majority of Britons say the government is managing the cost of living badly
The latest YouGov data suggests that the Prime Minister and Chancellor still have a lot of work to do to convince the public that they have a grip on the economy and the rising cost of living - 85% of Britons describe the economy as being in a bad state currently, while 8 in 10 (78%) say the government is doing a poor job of managing the cost of living.
Following Jeremy Hunt’s budget announcements in November, people remain overwhelmingly negative about the country’s economic prospects, with 7 in 10 (68%) expecting the economy to get worse over the next 12 months. Even amongst Conservative voters the picture is bleak – most (58%) of this group expect the economy to get worse.
There has been a small shift in people’s expectations of their own finances, although this should also be of concern to the Government. When first asked in September, 65% said that they expected their household’s financial situation to get worse over the next year; this figure has now dropped to 57%.
However, while fewer people are now saying they have negative expectations, they have only moved as far as saying they expect their situation to be about the same, rather than anticipating better times ahead. Given that nearly two thirds (64%) say their finances have got worse over the last 12 months, it appears that government support is having a limited impact.
The British public are also concerned about exactly what measures will be taken to try and boost the economy. Three quarters (73%) are worried that in the next two to three years people like them will suffer directly from cuts in public services spending as the government looks to tighten the purse strings, while 4 in 10 (43%) are concerned about losing their job or struggling to find work.
Low-income households are struggling with essential costs
Low-income households are particularly feeling the pinch, with 70% of Britons with a household income of £20,000 or less saying that they have already had to make cuts to their usual spending in response to the rising cost of living including more than half (56%) who say they expect to make further cuts. Amongst Britons in low-income households, 4 in 10 (37%) say they are struggling to pay their energy bills most or all of the time, and a third (32%) say they struggle to afford food most or all of the time.
Most worryingly, half of Britons (49%) in low-income households are either struggling to make ends meet (35%) or cannot afford their essential costs and are going without food and heating (14%) as we enter the coldest months of the year.