Cost of living crisis hitting England’s most deprived areas hardest, ONS says | UK cost of living crisis

Official data shows that the most disadvantaged areas of England are hardest hit by the cost of living crisis.

The most recent survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals the divisions across the country in terms of how people are affected by the rising cost of living.

Those in the most deprived areas of England most frequently reported spending less on food and essentials in the two weeks to 20 November, 58% said this compared to a third of those in the least deprived areas.

It comes as the vast majority of adults in the UK reported higher prices for their food store over the past month, with CPI inflation running at 11.1% in October.

On the other hand, the ONS survey found that people who live in less deprived areas of England are more likely to have made improvements to the energy efficiency of their homes. More than a third said they had done so in November, compared to less than a quarter of those in the most deprived areas.

The Office for National Statistics used the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) to classify regions into five groups, ranging from the most deprived to the least deprived quintile. IMD takes into account key factors such as income, education, health and crime to determine deprivation in an area – with cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Hull and London being home to some of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Wales and Scotland were not included in the analysis due to the survey’s relatively smaller sample sizes, the Office for National Statistics said.

People living in the most deprived fifth of the areas in England were more likely to worry about the rising cost of living, at 84%, compared to 70% in the least deprived areas.

There has also been a stark contrast between levels of concern about affordability of energy bills, as house prices have soared across the UK. More than three-fifths of those living in England’s five most disadvantaged regions said they had difficulty paying energy bills as recently as November, and a tenth said they were behind on their bills.

Meanwhile, just over a third of people living in wealthier areas said they had difficulties affording costs, and just 2% said they were behind on their bills.

Earlier this month, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said high inflation hit lower-income households harder because a greater proportion of their spending goes on necessities such as food and energy.

He said, “Inflation is bad for the less well-off in general and this inflation is especially bad. The reason is that it focuses on energy and food – these are the basics of life.”

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