Interactive Investor

Britons struggling to maintain financial resilience as cost-of-living storm rages on

13th February 2023 10:31

Myron Jobson from interactive investor

interactive investor comment on the ONS characteristics of adults experiencing energy and food insecurity study.

The Office For National Statistics (ONS) has today published a study on the characteristics of adults experiencing energy and food insecurity.

Commenting, Myron Jobson, Senior Personal Finance Analyst, interactive investor, says: “Official data suggests that many household faced a stark ‘heat or eat’ dilemma during the festive period. Adults living in rented accommodation, earning less than £30,000 and living with depression were the cohorts most exposed to energy and/or food insecurity over the period. It’s a similar story for younger adults.

“The data taken in isolation is a worrying read, but combined with other datapoints on personal finances paints a picture of a nation with a vast swathe of the population struggling to maintain financial resilience.

“The latest Bank of England Money & Credit report shows that borrowing increased again in December, following an uptick the month before - largely a result of a jump in borrowing through other and typically larger forms of personal consumer credit, like personal loans, rather than relatively modest spends on credits cards. Meanwhile, deposits into savings account fell month-on-month. This suggests that many Britons will now have to keep a watchful eye on their finances to avoid debt spiralling out of control.

“We know that household budgets have been stretched by a host of price increases from higher energy bills to soaring food prices. While inflation has cooled in recent months, the rise in food prices continues to be a pain point for many Britons. Household energy costs is another, which is set to rise in spring when the energy price cap increases, taking the average annual bill from £2,500 to £3,000 per year.

“The perfect storm of high inflation and the spectre of higher interest rates mean households will likely continue to reshuffle their spending priorities and allocate more of their budget on everyday essentials."

Key points:

  • The ONS found that adults who rent their homes had higher odds of experiencing some form of energy (2.9 higher odds) and food insecurity (3.2 higher odds) than those who own their property outright.
  • Adults with an annual personal income below £30,000 had between 2.1 and 2.6 higher odds of experiencing some form of energy insecurity than adults earning £40,000 or more; while those with a personal income below £40,000 had between 1.7 and 3.1 higher odds of experiencing some form of food insecurity than adults earning £40,000 or more.
  • Adults who reported moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms had higher odds of experiencing some form of energy (2.3 higher odds) and food insecurity (3.1 higher odds) than those with no-to-mild depressive symptoms.
  • Adults aged 30 to 64 years had between 1.5 and 1.8 higher odds of experiencing some form of energy insecurity than those aged 65 years and over; while adults aged 16 to 64 years had between 2.0 and 4.6 higher odds of experiencing some form of food insecurity than those aged 65 years and over.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.