New data shows that rising prices are causing people in the UK to significantly cut back on essential healthcare services, which could affect their long-term health.
One in five (19%) of households are delaying dental treatment due to concerns about cost. A third (35%) cannot afford a healthy balanced diet at least once in the past month. A similar percentage (33%) said financial worries kept them awake at night, and 35% said their financial situation was making their mental health worse. Many also (27%) say their financial situation is making their physical health worse.
The researchers found the situation particularly concerns people classified as ‘severe financial hardship’ (9.6 million people across the UK live in such households). One-fifth of those experiencing severe financial hardship have not eaten all day at least three times in the previous month. In this group, as a direct consequence of needing to cut spending to save money:
- 82% can’t afford a healthy balanced diet at least once in the past month
- 46% are delaying dental treatment
- 19% are avoiding medical appointments
- 18% can’t afford drugs or medical equipment.
Financial Equity Trackercommissioned by the abrdn Financial Fairness Trust and analyzed by a team of experts at the University of Bristol, has been tracking the personal finances of households since the start of the pandemic, using a sample of about 6,000 people. .
Illustrating how hard it is for the lowest income earners during the cost of living crisis, many welfare indicators affect physical and mental health lower than they were at the start of the pandemic. . Among those experiencing severe financial hardship, 61% of households said they were unable to keep their home warm and comfortable in the past six months. Similar numbers say they are cutting back on socializing with friends and family (64%) and engaging less in hobbies and pastimes (61%).
The researchers looked at which households were cutting spending and in what areas they were cutting spending. This led them to describe cost-cutting as the ‘new normal’, with only a quarter (26%) of households not taking measures to cut costs, while the majority are taking steps to reduce costs. Cut costs in one or more areas. Of all households in the past six months:
- 49% have cut back on eating out and taking out
- 46% are shopping at cheaper supermarkets/buying cheaper food products
- 35% have not booked a holiday or vacation.
On a general level, the financial situation is lower than when the first survey took place at the start of the pandemic (April 2020). Since then, the number of financially secure households has decreased by 11 percentage points (from 37% to 26% of households).
Professor Sharon Collard, Chair of Personal Finance at the University of Bristol’s Center for Personal Finance Research, said: “It’s impossible to ignore how food insecurity has been exacerbated by the cost of living. higher. The number of people who can’t afford to eat healthily, or even eat three meals a day, is worrisome. While the government has taken welcome steps to support those most in need, these numbers show that more needs to be done to help; Relying on food banks is not a viable long-term solution.”
Mubin Haq, CEO of abrdn Financial Fairness Trust, said: “The cost of living crisis is having a serious impact on the decisions millions of people are making about their health. It’s shocking how often people delay dental treatment, don’t take medicine and don’t eat because they can’t afford these necessities. Short-term cost savings have the potential to have long-term consequences for the nation’s health. This is a hefty price to pay and could have a knock-on effect on the labor market with people unable to work due to ill health.”
abrdn Financial Equity Trust
abrdn Financial Fairness Trust funds research, policy and advocacy to tackle financial problems and improve living standards for low- to middle-income people in the UK. It is an independent charity registered in Scotland.
abrdn Financial Fairness Trust is known as the Standard Life Foundation until December 2021.
Financial Equity Tracker
Trackers are made regularly by YouGov. People in Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland were asked about income, bill payments, borrowing, debt, savings and other financial changes, including the ability to pay for essentials like food Products. Respondents were selected at random from YouGov’s online dashboard. The basis for the analysis is who is responsible for the household’s finances. Non-heads of household with only personal financial responsibility (most of whom are under the age of 25 and live at home with their parents) were not included in the analysis of this report.
The tracker identifies the demographic characteristics and socioeconomic circumstances of those affected, as well as the strategies being used by those adversely affected by the crisis to make ends meet. It also determines how many and what types of people are expecting their financial situation to deteriorate in the coming months. The report covers the entire UK population, as well as the UK’s four individual countries. In the UK, it identifies the areas with the greatest impact.
The tracker tracks anxiety stemming from financial and usage issues, as well as potential needs for money guidance, debt advice, or additional support from the government or other agencies. The report identifies the number of people using government assistance, such as job retention programs and support for self-employed people and those facing reduced income that are not protected by the government. one of these measures. It provides a regular picture of how the country is responding to the economic shock caused by the crisis.