Research from pensions and retirement specialist LV= highlights how worries about money and rising energy bills are taking their toll on UK consumers.
The LV= Wealth and Wellbeing Monitor* - a quarterly survey of 4,000 UK adults – shows that millions of people are worried about their finances, struggling to pay day-to-day costs and increasingly worried about money, which is affecting mental and physical health.
The Monitor, which is part of the LV= Wealth and Wellbeing research programme, found that since last summer people have become more worried about their finances.
Some 21m (40%) say they are now worried about money compared to 15m (28%) in September 2021. A growing number say they have sought online mental health support - 7% (4m) Sept 22 vs. 4% (2m) Sept 2021.
The research found that people are struggling to cope with rising bills
Rising energy bills are a huge worry for UK consumers, particularly for those aged over-55 and people with household incomes below £25,000.
Although the government has a series of measures to support households with energy bills more than half of UK adults (55% 29m) say they are worried about the rising cost of energy bills with the figure rising to 65% among retired people.
People with incomes of less than £25,000 are particularly worried (63%) while women (62%) are more likely than men (48%) to be worried about rising energy bills.
The research revealed that a quarter (24%) of parents with young children say they may end up in debt to pay heating bills compared to 15% (8m) of the general population who may do so.
How people plan to cope with rising energy bills
Consumers say they will take as series of measures to manage their finances. Many will cut down on leisure activities and holidays while others say they will take on extra debt.
One in three (33% 18m) say they plan to cut down on holidays and leisure to pay heating bills while 7m (13%) say paying bills might being unable to afford to eat.
“Consumers face a difficult winter as the cost of energy and food rise sharply. The findings of the LV= Wealth and Wellbeing Monitor highlight how precarious the finances of millions of people are. Inflation has risen to levels not seen for decades and the UK’s personal finances have deteriorated significantly over the past 12 months.
“Inflation, the rise in the cost of living and especially the huge rise in energy and food bills are having a huge impact and millions of people are worried about paying for day-to-day living.
“The soaring costs of lighting and heating homes are a real concern and our research shows many people face taking on extra debt. Higher-inflation typically hits lower-income families and older people in society harder than other groups, especially when prices for food and domestic utilities such as water and heating rise at a rapid rate.”
*LV= surveyed 4,000 nationally representative UK adults via an online omnibus conducted by Opinium in September 2022
UK population stats from ONS. Total UK adult population is 52.9m UK adults (aged 18+).