Millions of Britons are struggling with the cost-of-living both financially and mentally according to a report out Wednesday from the Financial Conduct Authority. The regulator found that some people were turning their heating down or off as a cost-cutting measure. File Photo by Tolga Akmen/EPA-EFE
May 17 (UPI) -- The number of Britons who are stressed out or anxious about the rising cost of living has risen to more than half of all adults, the country's financial regulator said Wednesday.
Almost 11 million people reported struggling to pay bills and meet credit repayments, up by 3.1 million from 7.8 million in May 2022, while those who missed bills or loan payments in at least three of the last six months jumped by 1.4 million, from 4.2 million to 5.6 million, over the same period, the Financial Conduct Authority said in a news release.
The FCA found that these pressures were having a considerable negative impact on mental health with 28.4 million adults, or 54% of over-18s, saying they felt more anxious or stressed due to the rising cost of living than they did six months ago and 28% said they had lost sleep over money worries.
"Our research highlights the real impact the rising cost of living is having on people's ability to keep up with their bills, although we are pleased to see that people have been accessing help and advice," said FCA Consumers and Competition Executive Director Sheldon Mills.
"If you're concerned about your finances, you do not need to worry alone. We've told lenders that they should provide support tailored to your needs. And, if you find yourself in debt or want to know more about how to manage your finances, free expert advice is available."
In all, the FCA found that more than three-quarters of people found meeting bills and making repayments a burden, while 29% of those with a mortgage and 34% of renters saw their payments rise in the six months to January 2023.
People were cutting back wherever they could in order to meet commitments with 8% canceling one or more of their insurance policies, and 7% reducing the level of coverage on one or more of their policies in the 6 months to January 2023, specifically to save money due to the rising cost of living.
The most severe cost-cutting measures the FCA heard about from survey respondents included turning the heating down, or off, and skipping meals while others resorted to borrowing to meet their commitments and everyday costs.
The report comes as Britain is battling one of the worst cost-of-living crises of any advanced economy with red-hot inflation running at 10.2% and food inflation, in particular, at a 40-year-high of more than 19%. The Bank of England raised interest rates for the 12th time in a row last week in a bid to slow the pace at which prices are rising, but the resulting higher mortgage costs have been fuelling the cost of living crisis, along with high energy prices, higher wages, and a weaker pound.