LONDON (CU)_Consumers across the United Kingdom are currently struggling with the rising costs of essentials, with some of them being forced to choose between eating and heating. A recent study has found that there has been a significant increase in the number of households which have made adjustments cope with the ongoing crisis.
Consumer group Which? conducted a survey on the impact of rising costs on British households, and found that more than one in 10 people are skipping meals owing to food price hikes, while 16 per cent say they are eating fewer cooked meals. Meanwhile, the number of households which have taken measures like cutting back on essentials, dipping into savings, borrowing from family and friends or taking out loans or credit cards, have reached 57 per cent, a sharp increase from 38 per cent in May 2021.
One third of respondents told Which? they are using less hot water owing to increasing energy prices, while rising food prices forced 8 per cent of consumers to prioritise meals for other family members. The share of those using food banks stand at 3 per cent. The cost-of-living crisis is also having a noteworthy impact on consumers’ finances, with a whopping two million households having missed payments for bills, loans, credit cards and housing over the past month.
“I can’t afford to buy food each week, so I am not able to eat a proper meal each day,” one respondent told the consumer group, while another said they go to bed when it gets cold since they can’t afford to buy oil. “I’m cold, hungry, and miserable,” a participant of the survey said.
The government has responded to the crisis by unveiling a £21 billion package of cost-of-living support, which includes £400 to all households, in addition to £650 for those on low incomes, £300 to pensioners, and £150 to consumers on disability benefits. “The latest government support package to help with rising energy bills will bring relief to many people,” Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at Which?, said. “However, the government needs to make sure the right level of support is available for the most vulnerable through the cost-of-living crisis.”