One in 10 families will struggle to cover basics this winter

New research on the cost of living crunch by Citizens Advice reveals one in ten families are facing financial crisis this winter.

The charity analysed average income data against household spend on essentials like rent, bills and food to establish how many families can meet their living costs. It found that even if living on a minimal budget - the financial plan its advisers use to support people through a debt management process - more than three million households would be in the red or unable to cover the essentials.

A further 380,000 households have less than £50 spare each month after covering their basic living costs, putting them at risk of hardship if they faced an unexpected bill.

Separate polling of 2,000 UK adults by Citizens Advice shows: 37 per cent of people are worried about paying their bills this winter. This rises to nearly half (48 per cent) of people on low incomes; one in five people have already cut back on their food shop or used less heating in the last three months to save money; and 10 per cent people anticipate accessing crisis support this winter, like food banks or fuel vouchers.

Citizens Advice says it is anticipating rising numbers of people in hardship seeking its support this winter. It warns low-income families have been hit by a triple whammy of the £20-a-week Universal Credit cut, soaring energy bills and rising inflation.

Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “All of us are noticing our bills go up, but for people on the tightest budgets there’s simply nothing left to cut back on. Many are getting into debt and finding that accessing crisis support like food banks is the only way to get by. Our frontline advisers are already seeing these dire consequences of the cost of living crisis. The government has a crucial opportunity to intervene before things escalate even further. We’d urge them to act now and increase benefits in line with inflation this December.”

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