New info shows the cost of living crisis hits poor people the hardest

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As the cost of living crisis continues, new research has told poor people what they already knew: that financially, they’re screwed. However, what the data does do is shine a useful light into just how bad things are.

Cost of living crisis: dire straits

Torsten Bell is the chief executive of think tank the Resolution Foundation. The group does a lot of research into how government policy affects the poorest people. Now, Bell’s team has crunched some more numbers. He tweeted that 65% of the poorest fifth of people have no savings at all:

This has hardly changed since 2016-18, at a time when the poorest people who were in bad health could save even less. However, it’s no surprise that poor people can’t save any money. This is because they spend more on everyday costs than all other groups – from housing to food – and the least on “recreation”:

Read on...

weekly expenditure by decile

Soaring inflation has hit the poorest people the hardest. So their ability to save is directly linked to income, as Office for National Statistics (ONS) data has shown:

Median income across deciles

Falling into arrears

However, Bell showed another problem: that the poorest people are also often behind on their bills:

Again, it’s no surprise that people reliant on social security are in the worst position regarding paying bills. This is because successive Tory governments have repeatedly frozen benefit rates, cutting them in real terms. Similarly, polling commissioned by the BBC found that 32% of social housing tenants had fallen behind with utility bills in the past six months during the cost of living crisis. Between 2016 and 2018, the poorest fifth of people had the highest rates of “problem debt”, despite having the least money. This is likely to be the same now. Yet as Bell pointed out, the government helps the poorest people the least when it comes to savings:

The end result of this is financial chaos for the poorest people.

A catastrophe

The BBC carried out a poll, but didn’t check whether people were rich or people. The poll found that:

Half those asked paid for at least some of their Christmas and holiday season spending on credit.


A third of respondents to the poll who used credit to help get through Christmas and the holiday season said they were not confident about their ability to repay.

This leads to a deterioration in people’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Search engine optimisation agency BlueArray reported that surveying showed that:

when asked if they are worried about affording essentials such as food, clothing, housing, and travel over 84% are worried with 36% of these being extremely worried.

It also found that:

87% of those surveyed say financial stress is impacting their mental health with 26% of those saying it impacts them a lot.

2023 is going to be a disaster for countless people during the continuing cost of living crisis. With no savings, little meaningful government support, and energy bills set to go up again, the poorest people are running out of places to turn. So, it will be left to communities and not-for-profit groups to pick up the pieces.

Featured image via pixabay

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  • Show Comments
    1. None of this is new to those of us who have lived under the hammer strokes of the DWP for years – & often for decades!

      As someone disabled, widowed, & living alone, I struggle daily to survive but, due to the Tory Government starving our NHS, & our Social Services for the many years they’ve held onto power, I have to struggle along alone, using the disability Benefits that I’ve been awarded, to pay others to help me survive in my home.

      The fact that the Tories keep trying to urge people to save, goes to show just how out of touch they really are – with we disabled, but also with ordinary working people!

      Savings are just a dream for most of us.

      No matter how much I try to save, no sooner do I get a small sum put away, when yet another expense hits me, & I end up back to an empty savings account, & the daily dread of something else happening, that will need money to fix it.

      I’m an expert at living within my means, as I’ve had no choice. If my oil runs out, I spend even more time in bed, desperate to keep myself warm enough, so that the pain I’m in, 24/7, doesn’t become an agonising, everyday reality.

      I have learned to live on the most basic of foods, using hot drinks as a means of quelling hunger pangs.

      And I’m now threatened by the Tory government, into having to change from the Legacy Benefits that I’m just about managing to survive on – as I live alone, I was awarded SDP, & EDP, in order to pay others to help keep me living in my own home – but, now, the Tories have taken even that protection away from those 2.5 million disabled & chronically ill people, including myself – & are forcing us, once again, to move onto UC! 😡

      With UC, I’ll be losing around £140 a week, as the ‘transitional payment’ that the DWP so proudly con ordinary people into thinking I won’t lose out in the move, will be replacing my SDP, & EDP – & the TP, which is far less already to what I’m in now, will be whittled away each year, every time April comes around, & the Benefits are raised – as the TP is being treated as a temporary help!

      The DWP lie to the public about UC making people like me better off, & they definitely don’t tell them that I’ll be losing the money that pays for people to help me survive! 😡

      So much for being able to save!

      UC is a cruel & unhealthy way for the DWP, & their Tory Masters, to starve us of our means of survival, & who torture us with threats of even more Draconian changes in the years ahead.

      It’s no wonder that the Suicide rates for the chronically ill & disabled are getting ever higher, as desperate people uase this as a way of escaping the hell that is the DWP, & the Tory Party! 😡

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