Pay Freezes Put Pressure on Personal Finances

Published on 1 January 1970 by Raffick Marday

The high cost of living for 16 million Brits will continue to squeeze budgets as pay freezes are expected to sweep the nation this year.

Research by uSwitch reveals even those who have received a pay rise will not find it matches the rate of inflation.

Eleven percent of the nation has received a pay rise this year - however, for three quarters of this group, this has been less than the 4 percent inflation rate, with an average pay rise of 3.4 percent.

“With household bills soaring and pay in real terms falling, confidence is plummeting,” commented Ann Robinson, uSwitch director of consumer policy.

“With the cost of living outstripping pay, all consumers need to start paying serious attention to their spending habits.”

Everyday living costs have soared recently as the Government tries to repair the country post-recession, with train fairs rising by 5.8 percent on average, and petrol prices increasing by 15 percent since last year.

Consumers have had to also accommodate an energy bill rise of 5.9 percent since the end of last year, food inflation of 6.3 percent and the VAT increase which came into effect at the start of 2011.

Nearly 11 million Brits have been forced to cut back on food as a result, and 37 percent try to find cheaper alternatives.

Rising costs have caused four in ten consumers to feel financially worse off than a year before, while 15 percent claim they are just about breaking even each month, with 20 percent looking to take a second job or work longer hours to cope.

Families are Worse Hit

Data from the Consumer Credit Counselling Service revealed British families are expected to struggle the most with debt in the coming months over other groups, due to the cuts in child benefits to take effect in April.

Those with children need an extra £650 a month to cover the increasing cost of living.

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