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Our latest findings on the rising cost of living

An updated snapshot of the challenges facing households on the cost of living

Through our National Debtline and Business Debtline services, we see the sharp end of the current challenges facing households on income, costs and bills. However, the impact of rising inflation, energy costs and out-of-pace incomes are far-reaching.

Our latest briefing, based on a poll of more than 2,000 adults, shines a spotlight on the continued financial challenges UK households are facing and the difficulties that lie ahead for many more as the cost of living continues to rise.

Full briefing
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Key findings

  • One in five UK adults (an estimated 10.9m) are already behind on at least one household bill
  • An estimated 10.7 million have already seen their energy bills rise by £100 a month or more
  • One in nine (an estimated 5.6 million) UK adults have gone without food as a result of the cost of living crisis.
  • 15.3 million people (29 percent) say they have had to use credit to pay for essentials – an increase of 2.1 million since March 2022.

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Our recommendations

The support provided to help households so far is welcome, but the Government and regulators need to go further to support people caught at the sharp end of rising costs by:

  • Ensure the benefits system provides enough support for people on low incomes, including significantly uprating benefit levels.
  • Provide more support for people already in arrears, including pausing debt collection activity and setting repayments to zero or a token amount.
  • Urgently introduce a social tariff to lower the cost of energy bills for low-income households.

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Collision course: A snapshot of the challenges facing households on the cost of living (March 2022)

In March we published our first briefing, based on a poll of 2,000 adults, into the impact of the rising cost of living on households in the UK. At the time, our findings showed that:

  • One in seven UK adults (an estimated 7.9m) were already behind on at least one household bill
  • An estimated 6.2 million had gone without energy, water or electricity in the three months prior due to rising costs
  • One in five UK adults expected to have to borrow money or use credit to cover their essential costs in the coming three months
  • Only one in five UK adults felt prepared to deal with further rising costs

To meet the scale of the challenge, our recommendations to Government included:

  • Significantly uprating benefits and pausing benefit deductions
  • Providing a package of targeted support for people struggling with household bills
  • Working with regulators and creditors to ensure people in debt are treated fairly
Full briefing
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Latest research and reports

The Money Advice Trust is committed to a programme of research which enhances understanding of the debt and credit environment and practically improves money advice. Find all of our latest research and reports here.