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Estimated 44 million impacted by rising costs

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Estimated 44 million impacted by rising costs according to CAP’s landmark poll. 

CAP commissioned YouGov to carry out a poll of 2270 people across the UK in August and it found:

  • IMPACTED — 84% (estimated 44 million) of people say they have been financially affected by the cost of living crisis.

  • RISING PRICES- Half (49%, estimated 25.9 million) reported their bills and costs have risen by between £101 and £500 a month.

  • STRUGGLING FINANCIALLY — Before and during 2021, 15% (estimated 7.9 million) were already struggling financially. But since the start of 2022 there has been an alarming growth, with an additional 8% (4.2 million estimated rise) at the start of the year who were pulled into financial problems, growing to almost a third (32%, estimated 16.9 million) by Easter, and then to just under half (48%, estimated 25.4 million) in total by August.

  • CUTTING BACK — It’s estimated over 32 million people (61%, 32.3million) have reduced their energy use to save money and over 24 million (46%, 24.3million) are shopping around more and using cheaper supermarkets.

  • DESPERATION — Sadly, almost 8 million people (15%, 7.9million) are estimated to be going without heating or electricity completely and a similar amount are skipping meals (8.5 million, 16%). Almost 20 million people (37%, 19.6million) have cut out socialising and leisure altogether.

  • DEBT & BORROWING — An estimated 6.9 million people (13%) are behind on bills and over 22 million (42%, 22.2million) have borrowed money to cope with rising costs. Of those who have borrowed money this year, 40% have borrowed £1000 or more with 15% borrowing more than £3000 during 2022.

  • LONG TERM IMPACT — Over a third (36%) of those with debts expected it to take them over a year to repay the debts they have already built up in 2022. One in ten (13%) don’t know how long it will take them to pay back what they have borrowed.

The biggest concern is this poll was carried out in the hot month of August, ahead of winter and energy prices rising by a further £529 per year on average. That’s going to be around double the cost they were last year, even after taking into account the UK Government’s energy price guarantee which was announced earlier this month. People are facing a personal and growing debt crisis. Low income households have been hit the hardest and are being left with little choice but to borrow to pay for essentials. Many will be forced to take on a lot more debt during the colder months just to survive.” 

Gareth McNab, Director of External Affairs 

CAP is helping thousands of people become debt free across the UK, people like Stephen who worked on a land based oil rig for 26 years but after suffering spinal damage in a car accident and having two strokes he’s now unable to work. 

He’s received free debt help from CAP and became debt free just last month but being on Universal Credit, he’s finding it difficult to afford the rising costs and worries about the winter ahead.

Stephen says, It has got harder and harder with gas, electric and food going up. You start noticing your money is going nowhere.

CAP have been brilliant as they put your mind at rest and give you all the advice you need. But with the bills increasing now, it’s getting worse.

I’m really frightened about the gas bill coming. When winter comes everything is going up – that will be the end of us. I think a lot of people will be freezing to death because you’re choosing between food and heating.”

Gareth continued, For a lot of low income households who we are helping at Christians Against Poverty, they have had months or possibly years of struggle and are already in serious financial difficulty. They can’t afford the increases in prices that have happened throughout 2022 so the doubling of energy costs this winter is terrifying.

Living shouldn’t cost everything. But for millions, it does. We need more targeted help for people living in poverty who have less money coming in than they need just to stay alive and out of serious debt. This could be delivered in discounts of household bills, more one-off grants and increased benefit payments to help people survive winter.”

CAP wants to see: 

  • More targeted support for low income adults: further targeted financial support for low income households which takes into account actual energy bills due to family size and need, including for those not in receipt of means-tested benefits.

  • Increase in Local Housing Allowance and other benefits: increase Local Housing Allowance and uprate benefits ahead of Winter 2023 to reflect the inflation rate faced by low income adults across the essentials they need.

  • A ban on energy companies forcibly switching customers to prepayment meters over winter: a winter ban on energy companies forcibly switching customers to prepayment meters, including smart prepay, and a moratorium on court action to collect debts.


CAP commissioned a YouGov Poll of a nationally representative sample of 2,270 people in August 2022. 85% of respondents lived in England, 8% in Scotland, 5% in Wales and 3% in Northern Ireland. Population figures have been calculated using ONS mid-year UK Adult population estimates for 2020 of 52,890,044.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity determined to reduce poverty by delivering free debt help, money management education, life skills courses and job clubs, all through local churches. Find out more about CAP at capuk.org/about-us.

CAP is committed to its services being available to all individuals regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

The Warm Welcome Hubs initiative is a partnership of churches, other faith groups, civil society organisations, businesses and local authorities who have come together to provide warm, welcoming spaces in local communities across the UK, so that no one is left to suffer on their own this winter. 

For free debt help, contact CAP on 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org. You can also find out more about CAP by doing an online search for Christians Against Poverty’.

CAP Senior PR Officer, Joe Beardsall: [email protected] , 07449 113182

CAP PR Manager, Susan Littlemore: [email protected] 07449 167058

PR team: [email protected]

Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'
Ruth, Co-Debt Centre Manager

We urgently need your support to reach every person in poverty.

Ruth holding a sign that reads 'There is so much need. I'm at my limit.'