Cost of living: Shocking figures reveal crisis is getting worse

·Freelance news writer, Yahoo UK
·3-min read
Nearly half of adults in Great Britain are struggling to pay their energy bills. (PA)
Nearly half of adults in Great Britain are struggling to pay their energy bills. (PA)

Shocking new figures have demonstrated how the cost of living crisis is getting even worse, with half of British adults now struggling to pay their energy and food bills.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released on Friday show the extent to which spiralling inflation rates are impacting people’s day-to-day lives.

It follows economist Martin Lewis’ warning this week that the next prime minister is inheriting a country on the brink of a “national financial cataclysm”.

The ONS research found 89% of adults are seeing their general cost of living increase, compared to 62% when the organisation first asked the question in November last year.

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Almost half - 46% - of adults who pay energy bills are finding it very or somewhat difficult to afford them. They were surveyed between 6 and 17 July, and this compares to 43% who were struggling between 22 June and 3 July.

Meanwhile, exactly half - 50% - of adults reported buying less when food shopping, while 50% reported having to spend more than usual to get what they normally buy.

Everyday staples are soaring in price (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)
Everyday staples are soaring in price (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)

In September, 8% of people were buying less food, and in October last year, 18% were spending more to buy the same amount.

Moreover, the consequences of the rising cost of living extend beyond regular bills. For example, nearly half - 46% - of adults said they will not be able to save any money in the next 12 months.

It comes as inflation, the measure of how much more expensive things are getting for households, has reached a 40-year high of 9.4%.

Prices in the UK are 9.4% higher than they were last year (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)
Prices in the UK are 9.4% higher than they were last year (Yahoo News UK/Flourish)

That means households now have to spend £9.40 more for every £100 they spent a year ago to buy the same things.

A large part of this is because of rising global energy prices, which have not only pushed up the cost of heating homes, but also the cost of buying many everyday items that need energy.

The situation is likely to get worse in October, when energy regulator Ofgem’s price cap will go up once again, with some economists predicting the average annual energy bill will reach £3,363 a year, up from £1,971 set in April. This in itself was a 50% rise from October last year.

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Lewis, the founder of the Money Saving Expert website, warned on Wednesday that the country is “getting close to a Poll Tax moment”, and that he was seeing increasing numbers of people calling for a mass non-payment of energy bills.

“We need the government to get a handle on that because once it starts becoming socially acceptable not to pay energy bills people will stop paying energy bills and you’re not going to cut everyone off.”

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