Ofwat survey reveals more than half households in England and Wales will struggle to pay their utility bills this year

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17th May 2022 01:42 - Utilities

Ofwat survey reveals more than half households in England and Wales will struggle to pay their utility bills this year: A survey by water regulator, Ofwat, has revealed that more than half the respondents polled in a survey of bill payers in England and Wales believe they will struggle to pay their utility bills this year. 

The survey of more than 2,000 UK bill payers also revealed that six in 10 people (61%) are expecting their financial situation to worsen, up 36% percentage points since last year when 25% were concerned about their financial situation declining. 

The research revealed that three in 10 people (30%) were concerned about paying for their fuel, with 29% saying they were worried about being able to afford to heat their home. Fifteen percent (15%) also reported being worried about being able to pay their water bill.

Around half the respondents polled who said they were financially struggling revealed that they worried on a daily basis about their financial situation, with 36% saying they have had to turn to their friends and family to help them raise the money to pay for their bills. More than two-fifths of respondents (43%) said that they have had to reduce their spending of 'non-essential' items to help make ends meet.

Other things those who have struggled to pay their household bills 'sometimes' or 'more often' have engaged in to manage their bills included 'speaking to companies they pay bills to about financial help' (17%), taking out a short-term loan (16%), using credit cards to pay bills (15%) and using an overdraft to pay bills (14%). Fourteen percent (14%) also said they have fallen behind on utility bills, while 13% reported using food banks and 10% have taken out more money on existing loans to make ends meet. One in 20 said they have fallen behind on their loan payments (5%), while 3% said they had received another type of financial help

According to the research, a third of the respondents who believe their financial situation is on target to get worse, reported feeling 'depressed'.

The research also revealed that 31% of the UK adults polled said they did not know they could get financial support from water companies.

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