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Brits start cutting back now ahead of winter of price rises

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06/10/2021
More than half of Brits have started to cut back on spending amid fears of a squeeze on household finances this winter.

A survey of almost 1,900 UK adults for AJ Bell found 59 per cent are already making cutbacks as a winter of price rises looms.

Energy bills have already risen to a record high as suppliers struggle to cope with soaring wholesale prices, with experts predicting they have further to go.

Food prices have also jumped to their highest level in a decade and are expected to rise further.

At the same time, government financial support introduced during the pandemic has mostly come to an end, adding more pressure to already-struggling households.

This includes the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit, which ends today, a move debt charity StepChange says will have “devastating consequences” for many families.

According to the AJ Bell research, three-fifths of people are worried about their finances already.

Some 84 per cent of people have begun making cutbacks to luxuries such as eating out, trips and cosmetics.

Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) have cut back on their clothes spending, while 58 per cent of people have already reduced their supermarket spend.

However, only a quarter of households think that cutting back will actually keep their finances on track, showing how much some families are likely to struggle this winter.

Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, said: “Lots of the big household costs people pay out for each month have been rising and have further to go.

“Whether it’s soaring energy bills, which leaped last week and will rise again in April when the next price cap change happens, or rising food costs, which already saw their largest increase in more than a decade this summer and are expected to rise further, it’s clear that household bills are going to rise.

“If you’re facing a fall in income or rising bills – or a toxic double whammy – then you need to get a grip on your finances and look at what you can afford.

“It’s not a particularly pleasant job but it’s essential to avoid getting into financial strife further down the line.

“The first port of call for anyone struggling should be to ensure they are claiming all the help and tax breaks available to them.”

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