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Households battle cost of living as gas prices soar 129% in a year

Samantha Partington
Written By:
Samantha Partington

Households may be facing their toughest Christmas yet with annual gas prices up 129%, electricity up 65.5%  and rents rising by 4%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

  • 63% of households are using less gas and electricity because of the cost-of-living crisis
  • Over half of bill payers say they are worried about keeping warm at home this winter
  • Fuel price inflation falls for the fifth month in a row
  • Two thirds of shoppers are spending less on non-essentials
  • 94% of adults say the rise in the price of food shopping has driven up their cost of living
  • Highest annual percentage change in rents since January 2016
  • Regular pay fell by 2.7% in the quarter, adjusted for inflation.

Energy costs continue to rocket

Annual inflation may have eased slightly in November falling back from 11.1% to 10.7% but that’s little comfort to households watching the relentless rise of their energy bills.

Despite the introduction of the government’s Energy Price Guarantee, put in place by the government to shield bill payers from the full force of energy price rises, electricity and gas inflation were still some of the main drivers of inflation in November.

The UK has suffered some of the highest rates of energy price inflation in the G7, with gas and electricity prices in the 12 months to November up by 129% and 65.5% respectively.

Bill payers are struggling to cope with around half admitting they found it very or somewhat difficult to afford energy costs and two thirds saying they had cut back on their usage.

There is some slight relief at the petrol pumps as fuel price inflation fell from 22% in October to 17% in November. Although prices are still rising, the pace of inflation is a far cry from the 44% peak seen in July.

Non-essential spending cut

More than 90% of adults said their cost of living has risen compared to this time last year.

The main reasons given were rises in the price of food shopping (94%), gas or electricity bills (76%) and fuel (53%).

To ease the burden, 66% of shoppers have cut back on non-essential spending. This is reflected in the continued fall in sales in retail stores.

Despite cutting back, one in six adults said they were somewhat worried they would run out of food before they could afford to buy more.

Rents rise to highest level since 2016

Private tenants faced a 4% annual rent rise in November, marking the highest annual percentage change since January 2016.

Those living in the East Midlands fared the worst with a 5.1% annual rise. Rents in London and the north east rose slowest at 3.5%.

Average UK house prices increased by 12.6% in the year to October 2022, up from 9.9% in September 2022. The strength of the October increase is partly due to the sharp fall in house prices in October 2021 following changes to stamp duty.

Pay falls in real terms

Average pay in both the private and public sectors rose in the three months to October, when not adjusted for inflation. In the public sector salaries rose by 2.7%. Meanwhile their private sector counterparts received an increase of 6.9%, excluding bonuses.

But when adjusted for inflation over the year – regular pay fell by 2.7% in the quarter. This is among the largest falls since records began in 2001.

The rate of redundancy rose in the three months to October but remains low.