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New research from Royal London has shown that millions of UK workers have either had to take on a second job to cover the Cost of Living Crisis, or greatly increase their working hours in their existing jobs due to worries about rising bills.
According to the research, more than five million workers have already taken on extra employment to deal with their outgoings, and ten million more are making steps toward or planning this seemingly drastic approach.
Royal London discovered that millions of UK employees are working extremely long hours, with over a quarter of full-timers staying at work for over 48 hours a week, which is the recommended maximum time: some have said they work 56 hours every week, which equates to over 11 hours each day in a five-day working week.
Research also shows that only 10 percent of UK adults are confident they’ll be able to cope with the current rising costs and aren’t earning enough currently; two fifths working the longest hours are saying they are struggling to meet their basic outgoing costs.
Four in five people in the UK say they’re prepared for the financial crisis, having made preparations, but still a third of people have to take out loans or use overdrafts well before pay day. The main problem is that the outgoings of many greatly exceeds their income, despite taking measures to reduce their spending. As such, millions are being forced to take out loans or other borrowing services unexpectedly.
Nearly a quarter of UK workers say they have planned to use their savings, but a fifth of people said that they could only fund a small unplanned cost from their savings. This is affecting people’s mental health, which in turn can affect their physical health and well-being, as well as (from a majority of men) an inability to accept or discuss their financial situation and (from a majority of women) feelings of despair and anxiety.
In fact nearly three quarters of UK adults have not approached anyone for help or advice with the Cost of Living crisis.
If you’re finding it hard to pay your energy bills, we advise first of all contacting your energy provider – most are friendly and eager to sort out how much you can afford to pay them from your current income. If not, Citizens Advice are always there to help out.
Sarah Pennells, consumer finance specialist at Royal London, says, “We know that many households started reining in their spending six months ago as costs first started to rise, but with bills continuing to climb, it could be an incredibly tough winter ahead. While many have resorted to making significant spending adjustments, others, despite working all the hours they can, just can’t keep their heads above water.
“While the Government’s energy price freeze announcement will have brought relief, escalating costs across the board are deeply worrying, with only one in ten adults confident they’ll be able to cope financially. It’s not just the impact on people’s finances, rising costs are having a detrimental emotional impact, with over three-fifths saying they are suffering from emotional stress.”
Sara Willcocks, Head of External Affairs at national poverty charity Turn2us, says, “If you are worried about money, we urge you to seek advice as soon as possible. You can do a practical financial health check, which means checking what benefits you are entitled to via the Turn2us Benefits Calculator or, if you have debt concerns, speaking to a specialist debt organisation. You can also find out if you are eligible for any grants towards these costs for energy, furniture and other household essentials via our Grants Search, as well as finding where you may be able to reduce expenditure.”
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