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Cost of living

Tracking the impact that rising prices and interest rates are having on the finances, spending, health and wellbeing of low-income households.

Our mission

We aim to make sure that media, government and other campaigners have accurate and timely information about how those on the lowest incomes across the UK are faring through the cost of living crisis. We survey households every six months, and since October 2021 we’ve surveyed over 4,000 households in the lowest 40% of household incomes to best understand this.

Our goal is for decision makers to be aware of how those on the lowest incomes are faring, so that they can make decisions based on that data.


The impact of the cost of living crisis is widespread, and relates to our work on:

  • debt
  • housing
  • destitution and deep poverty
  • economic insecurity
  • social security
  • poverty

In May 2023 we found that 7.3 million low-income households went without essentials in the first half of 2023, and 4.5 million were in arrears. Over 2 million households were borrowing money to pay their bills.

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Child poverty
Social security

UK Poverty 2024: The essential guide to understanding poverty in the UK

The essential guide to understanding poverty in the UK

Read the report

Still rising prices

Despite inflation falling, prices are still rising, disproportionately impacting families on low incomes. Prices for energy, food and housing have risen at record rates over the last two and a half years.

Continuing to report on the impact that the cost of living crisis is having is vitally important, as falling inflation doesn’t mean falling prices, and the budgets of low-income households are being squeezed further and further. This is forcing millions to go without essentials, take on debt to pay their bills, and fall behind on payments.