Spending squeeze for half of UK adults

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More than half of UK adults say they will have to cut their spending to cope with rising household bills over the next year, Citizens Advice has warned.

Three in five people are worried about the effect that higher bills will have on their finances and 53 per cent – or 27 million – will have to cut spending to cope, according to a study by the consumer body.

It is launching the Big Energy Saving Week today, backed by Government, charities and the energy industry, to help consumers take practical steps to make cuts to their bills.

A survey found that of those who plan on cutting their spending, 59 per cent say they will have to reduce the amount they spend on food, 37 per cent will look for ways to reduce their energy bills, eight per cent will consider moving to a cheaper home and 66 per cent say they will have less to spend on time out with family and friends.

It found 20 per cent of British households are struggling or falling behind with their bills while a further 32 per cent said they are keeping up with costs but it is a struggle from time to time.

Of those concerned about paying their fuel bill, 55 per cent have cut down the amount of energy they use, 36 per cent have spent less on food, 34 per cent have sacrificed leisure activities or spending time with family and friends, 15 per cent have gone into their overdraft to pay their energy bills and 11 per cent have borrowed money from family and friends.

The poll also found that less than a third of people have spoken to their energy supplier to check that they are on the best tariff, 19 per cent have insulated their home and just one in 10 have switched to a cheaper way to pay.

Angela Knight, the chief executive of trade association Energy UK, said: “Energy companies know the cost of living can be a real concern so it is important customers get a good deal on their energy. It’s easy and quick to switch between suppliers so consumers should shop around to see if there’s another deal that better suits their needs.”