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Two in five people say their household financial situation will get worse over the next 12 months

16 January 2024

Two years of the cost of living crisis has caused a 50% rise in the number of people who are pessimistic about their financial future, according to new figures released today by StepChange Debt Charity.

The research indicates a difficult year ahead for people’s finances, as more than two in five adults (43%), around 22 million people, say their household financial situation will get worse over the next 12 months. When asked a similar question at the end of 2021 – just prior to the start of the cost of living crisis – only one in four (28%), around 14.5 million people, said they expected their financial situation to worsen over the following twelve months.

The new YouGov polling also reveals:

  • Of those who said their household financial situation would get worse over the next 12 months, three in four (74%), around 16 million people, said this was because of energy bills going up in January
  • One in two (49%) people are worried about their current financial situation
  • Almost one in two (46%) people say their overall financial situation has got worse since two years ago. One in five (19%) people say it has got much worse

Following two years of high living costs, keeping up with everyday expenses has become unsustainable for thousands of households. Of the one in two people worried about their finances, half have cut back on spending on essentials and a quarter (24%) have borrowed money. 

Despite so many people experiencing money worries, only 4% of those who said they were worried about their financial situation have sought help from an independent organisation such as StepChange or Citizen’s Advice. 

However, StepChange says it saw a steep rise in the number of people accessing debt advice on Christmas Day compared to the previous year. Almost 1,000 people accessed debt advice on StepChange’s website on 25th December, up from almost 400 on Christmas Day 2022, a 143% rise.

Vikki Brownridge, CEO at StepChange Debt Charity, said:

“January is always a busy time for us as a charity, and we know that it’s not just Christmas that has stretched people’s budgets this year, but almost two years of a long and challenging cost of living crisis.

“With energy bills having risen again, and the colder weather setting in, unfortunately the new year will not be easy on people’s finances. While we have seen a pause in the sharp rises in interest rates and inflation in recent months, the impact of this is far from over.

“For anyone struggling with debt or worried about what 2024 will bring for their financial situation, free and impartial support is available. StepChange offers confidential debt advice tailored to your personal circumstances. Opening up about your money worries can be the most important step in getting your life and finances back on track.”

Free, confidential debt advice is available 24/7 using StepChange’s online debt advice service at www.stepchange.org

Notes to Editors

  1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,056 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th - 20th December 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
  2. Polling referenced from 2021 was undertaken online between 30th November - 1st December 2021. Total sample size was 2,007 adults (aged 18+). The figures were weighted and representative of all GB adults. Q. “Now, thinking about your household financial situation over the next 12 months. Which one, if any, of the following statements best applies to you?” Statistic refers to all who say ‘I think my household financial situation will become worse over the next 12 months.’
  3. Population estimates for GB adults are conducted by StepChange, based on ONS data.

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