Rising costs fuel money worries for Londoners


  • 41% of Londoners say they are concerned their outgoings will be higher than their income over the coming months
  • Over half (57%) of people say they are stressed about their finances
  • With 43% of people not knowing where to turn for help, Yorkshire Building Society hopes its charity partnerships will help those who need it the most

Financial worries and stresses are impacting a large proportion of people in London (57%) according to research from Yorkshire Building Society and food redistribution charity, FareShare. And despite interest rates decreasing, and wages increasing, things are set to become even more challenging according to forecasts from the Resolution Foundation. Income is unlikely to change considerably in 2024 for the average household, yet housing, utility and food costs are set to continue to increase for many1.

According to a survey of 2,000 people from across the UK, 41% of respondents in London said they are concerned their outgoings will be higher than their income over the coming months.  Rising food prices (69%) and heating bills (64%) were the costs that people were most concerned about.

Worryingly the research suggests people have already made sacrifices, with almost a quarter (24%) of Londoners keeping the heating off even when it’s cold. Almost a third (28%) have missed social events and a similar proportion have reduced journeys on public transport (25%). A quarter of Londoners (25%) said they had taken on extra work and 15% said they had resorted to skipping meals to help meet their outgoings.

For those who say they experience financial stress, it’s having significant consequences on their daily lives. Over half (52%) of Londoners say it’s had at least a moderate negative impact on their mental health and over a third (38%) say it has had a negative effect on their physical health. The majority (80%) of workers who are stressed by their finances say it effects their work life. Financial stress also has consequences for people’s relationships, with 70% saying it negatively affected their relationship with their partner and 62% saying it impacted their relationship with wider family.

However, despite a large number being concerned about their financial situation, over a third (43%)  wouldn’t know where to go for help if they couldn’t afford their outgoings, and over half (58%) say they haven’t accessed any advice or support to pay their outgoings in the last six months.

Chris Irwin, director of savings from Yorkshire Building Society said: “This research lays bare the fragility of financial security for many people in London. Rising food and heating costs are understandably of great concern and simply being able to cover bills is a worry for a lot of people. Also alarming is the number of people who simply don’t know where to turn for information about how they can manage their money.

“We have partnered with FareShare – the UK’s largest food redistribution charity. FareShare acts as a gateway for people to not only access food when they need it via its network of charities and community organisations, but also access support, advice and information. Our partnership will help to deliver employability and financial skills to 2,500 people via the charity’s regional hubs and help to lift them out of financial hardship.” 

George Wright, CEO at FareShare said: “This research shows that times continue to be incredibly hard for many people in society and worries about meeting the cost of housing, bills and food have a huge impact on many areas of people’s lives.

“FareShare gets good-to-eat surplus food, that would otherwise go to waste, to 8,500 charities and community groups across the UK, from afterschool and breakfast clubs to refuges, hospices and older people’s lunch clubs. This food not only supports people facing insecurity, but also provides an opportunity to signpost them to other services to support them through other challenges.

“The root cause of food poverty is complex, but financial insecurity is one factor. Our partnership with Yorkshire Building Society will help us reach thousands of people through our employability programme, upskilling them with employability and financial skills and ultimately helping to lift them out of financial hardship.” 

Chris Irwin continued: “Easily accessing impartial advice is crucial to people facing worries about bills, money and housing.  This is why we host Citizens Advice advisers in 46 of our high street locations to help people access advice during these times – anyone can access the free one-hour advice sessions which can help people with a host of problems, including money worries. We hope that by working together with our partner organisations, we can find a better way to help lift thousands of people out of financial hardship.”

For anyone struggling with the cost of living, information, resources and where to seek help can be found here www.ybs.co.uk/cost-of-living.

Featured Photo by Sarah Agnew on Unsplash.

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