Cost of living pushes families to brink as survey suggests 32million people are now struggling to pay their bills
- Three in five Britons now struggle to keep up with bills as cost-of-living crisis hits
- Almost 32million – 60 per cent of adults – say rising cost is pushing them to brink
- Financial Conduct Authority survey questioned around 19,000 people this year
Three in five Britons now struggle to keep up with bills as the cost of living crisis bites, a survey shows.
Almost 32million – 60 per cent of UK adults – say the rising cost of energy, food, fuel, mortgages, rent and other bills is pushing them to the brink.
That’s a huge increase of 6million since a similar survey in 2020.
Nearly 8million people also find it a ‘heavy burden’ to keep up payments on bills, says the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) survey.
Almost 32million – 60 per cent of UK adults – say the rising cost of energy, food, fuel, mortgages, rent and other bills is pushing them to the brink
This is a rise of 2.5million since 2020, when 5.3million said maintaining payments was hurting their financial and mental wellbeing.
The number in financial difficulty has also increased. Some 4.2million people had missed a bill or credit card repayment in at least three of the six months before the survey.
Those living in the most deprived areas of Britain are nearly seven times as likely to be in financial difficulty as those living in the least deprived spots, researchers found.
Around 19,000 people were questioned between February and June, before energy bills rose drastically.
Earlier this week new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt scaled back the £60billion Energy Price Guarantee scheme
With annual inflation at 10.1 per cent, mortgage rates have rocketed in recent months while experts say the move to row back on the Energy Price Guarantee means millions more will be in financial trouble next year.
Soaring gas prices since Russia invaded Ukraine mean the typical household energy bill outside a fixed tariff is more than double last winter’s, even after the Government stepped in with support.
Earlier this week new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt scaled back the £60billion scheme – which caps average UK energy bills at £2,500 per year – from two years to just six months.
Bills could rise by as much as 73 per cent to £4,347 annually for the average household in April, consultancy Cornwall Insight predicted.
The Chancellor has launched a Treasury review on how to give continued help to the most vulnerable after the scheme ends. Any new aid is likely to be means-tested.
With annual inflation at 10.1 per cent, mortgage rates have rocketed in recent months while experts say the move to row back on the Energy Price Guarantee means millions more will be in financial trouble next year
National Energy Action says that shortening the support scheme has created ‘huge uncertainty’ for households already struggling.
Sheldon Mills of the FCA said: ‘If you’re facing financial difficulty, you don’t need to struggle alone. Free debt advice is available, and we have told firms that they must work with their customers to solve any problems with payment.’
Richard Lane of debt charity StepChange added: ‘Our advice would be to not wait to seek help. If you’ve fallen into arrears or are unsure how you’re going to pay your energy bills, mortgage or another financial commitment, speak to your lender or provider as soon as possible.
‘Firms have a regulatory responsibility to treat customers fairly, signpost them to sources of support and negotiate more affordable payment plans which are realistic for a customer’s finances.’
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