Worries over increase in cost of living weighing down on families

The majority of families are worried about inflation, with four out of 10 people saying they are too over-stretched to handle any increase in the cost of living.

The rising cost of essential items is the single biggest concern for families during the coming six months, with 57 per cent citing it as a worry, followed by redundancy at 45 per cent and unexpected expenses at 39 per cent, according to insurer Aviva.

Over the longer term, one in five families is concerned about the impact of rising interest rates on their mortgage, with home loan repayments accounting for around a fifth of the typical family's expenditure.

The study found that many families are ill-equipped to handle a rise in outgoings, with 33 per cent having no savings to fall back on and 40 per cent not currently setting aside anything on a monthly basis. Even among those families that do save, 25 per cent have less than 2,000 deposited, meaning they would have very little to see them through an emergency.

At the same time, the average families owes 5,360 in unsecured debt, while they have around 89,000 outstanding on their mortgage.

Around 42 per cent of single parents rely on state benefits to help them make ends meet and, unsurprisingly, 45 per cent of this group said the changes the Government plans to make to benefits was their biggest concern during the coming five years.

Louise Colley, head of protection marketing at Aviva, said: "This report gives us an interesting insight into the financial issues facing modern families in the UK.

"Not surprisingly, in today's society, some families are struggling to make ends meet. While it is encouraging to see that most families are trying to save something every month, it is clear other demands on their finances mean this amount remains below what is needed to guarantee a secure financial future."