Financial impact tracker: July 2022

Under pressure

University of Bristol and abrdn Financial Fairness Trust

July 2022

The July 2022 Financial Impact Tracker has identified the biggest pressures on household pressures since the beginning of the pandemic.

It shows that single parents have seen the greatest decline in financial wellbeing, with the proportion in serious financial difficulties rising from 23% to 37%. Other groups particularly hit include social renters, private renters and households with two children (all with a rise of more than ten percentage points).

The only group seeing a reduction in serious financial difficulties was households earning over £100,000 per year. In addition to the 4.4million in serious financial difficulties, a further 20% are struggling financially. As a result, 36% of UK households are facing significant financial hardship (either in serious financial difficulties or struggling).

Researchers found people were using a variety of methods to tackle rising energy bills, since the start of January 2022:

  • 31% had reduced the number of showers/baths taken
  • 60% had avoided turning on the heating
  • 33% had reduced use of the cooker/oven
  • 24% had heated only part of their home

The research shows some geographic variation in rates of households in serious financial difficulty. While overall 16% of UK households are in serious difficulties, this rises significantly to 22% for Wales, 21% for Scotland and 20% for the North East of England.

There is also an increase in stress and worry over household finances - nearly 6 in 10 are very/quite worried about their financial situation, especially disabled households (72%) and those on receiving or applying for benefits (77%). Looking to the next three months:

  • Half of households are worried about their ability to meet their gas or electricity bills.
  • Two in five are worried about their ability to cover food costs.
  • 29% are worried about their ability to meet their housing costs (rent or mortgage).

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The Financial Impact Tracker is a regular cross-sectional review of household finances across the UK, surveyed by YouGov and analysed by the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre, in partnership with abrdn Financial Fairness Trust. All the Financial Impact Tracker reports are available here.