The proportion of all adults finding it difficult (very or somewhat) to afford their energy bills, rent or mortgage payments has increased through the year, almost half of adults (45%) who paid energy bills (40% in March to June 2022) and 30% paying rent or mortgages reported these being difficult to afford (26% March to June 2022), according to the Office for National Statistics.
Over half (55%) of disabled adults reported finding it difficult to afford their energy bills, and around a third (36%) found it difficult to afford their rent or mortgage payments compared with 40% and 27% of non-disabled people, respectively.
Around 4 in 10 (44%) White adults reported finding it difficult to afford their energy bills, compared with around two-thirds (69%) for Black or Black British adults and around 6 in 10 (59%) Asian or Asian British adults.
Around 6 in 10 (60%) renters reported finding it difficult to afford their energy bills, and around 4 in 10 (39%) found it difficult to afford their rent payments compared with 43% and 23% of those with a mortgage, respectively.
Laura Suter, head of personal finance at AJ Bell, comments on the latest Cost of Living data from ONS: “Almost half the nation is now finding it difficult to pay their energy bills, while almost a third are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage – and more people are finding it tough compared to earlier this year.
“The fact that 1 in 25 people are already behind on their energy bills, even before we’ve hit the winter and colder weather should be a source of alarm for the nation. And many are faring worse, with renters, disabled people and those from minority ethnic backgrounds all being more likely to have already missed payments.
“Last week’s news that the Energy Price Guarantee will only last until April will have been dismaying news for anyone who has already seen their energy bills rise significantly and will be wondering how they can afford even higher bills come April. Those on pre-payment meters are facing a particularly tough time, with almost three-quarters already reporting difficulty in being able to afford topping up their meter. Those on pre-payment meters will often have had past problems paying bills, but are also hit with a higher cost of energy – compounding their money problems.
“It’s inevitable that more and more people will miss energy, rent and mortgage payments as we get further into winter and the continuing cost of living rises really start to hit more homes. These figures are the tip of the iceberg and the landscape in April, when we are the other side of the coldest season, will surely look more bleak.”