FAQ Contact Us

Half the public say they’ve never felt so worried about paying their bills, but most say they still won’t be seeking support

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM / AGILITYPR.NEWS / November 18, 2022 / Insight and strategy agency BritainThinks has published new research into the behaviour and attitudes of the significant number of new financially vulnerable people in the UK. This analysis unpicks the nuance in the feelings they have and measures that they are taking in the face of rising costs. Critically, the study looks at the barriers to seeking support and how to help people overcome these hurdles. 

Key findings in Wave III:

  • 90% of respondents rank cost of living as the most concerning current issue. 60% are very concerned about rising costs. 

  • Being younger, a parent or in rented accommodation appears to bring increased risk of struggling in the crisis.

  • Notably low financial resilience amongst younger and middle-aged people (29% and 27%) and disabled people (32%) who say they can’t afford an unexpected £100 bill.  

  • Parents of children under 18 (45%) are pessimistic about affording the essentials in life. 

  • Private renters (67%) say they’ve never been so worried about paying their bills. 

  • While half the general public (49%) say they have never felt as worried about paying their bills as they are currently, fewer than 1 in 10 say they already have or will seek formal support with their finances. 

  • Of those who have not sought support, a quarter (25%) feel that they would not qualify for assistance, whilst 23% feel other people need the support more than they do. 

  • The three key barriers for seeking support amongst the general public are a belief that they won’t qualify for support (25%), a belief others need supporting more than they do (23%) and feeling embarrassed (14%). 

  • The poorest households are more likely to say they’d not seek support because other people need it more than them (29% vs. 23% of the general public). 

Associate Director, Hettie Hill commented: “Despite widespread and sustained concern about the rising cost of living, and many already making significant changes to their spending and lifestyle, few are seeking formal support to help them manage. Our data suggests that the most vulnerable groups, like those on the lowest incomes, are particularly likely to be self-selecting out due to feeling others need support more than them. To be successful, any support initiatives will need to combat their concerns about eligibility, feelings of shame about asking for help and a lack of awareness about what is available to them.” 

Cost of Living Diaries

The Cost of Living Diaries is an ongoing project at BritainThinks looking into the effect of the crisis on the British public, and what that means for government, business and the third sectors. Since March 2022, we’ve been tracking levels of concern about the rising cost of living, and what that means for the public. All research is available on our website: https://britainthinks.com/insights/

About Us

About BritainThinks 

BritainThinks is an international insight and strategy consultancy. We deliver attitudinal and behavioural insight to help our clients improve policy, delivery and communication using traditional and innovative methodologies. We put the people that matter most to your organisation at the heart of your thinking. BritainThinks won MRS Agency of the year in 2020, is an employee owned business and certified B-Corp company.


Caitlin Murphy

Communications Manager


Phone: +44 (0)20 7845 5880