Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
We recently conducted a reader survey on social media, in which we asked our followers their thoughts on the cost-of-living crisis. Questions also asked people about their worries, what they want to see the government doing to help the British public and how they feel about paying their energy bills this coming autumn.
We conducted a reader survey previously, and found the results extremely interesting. Not only do surveys help us understand your thoughts and feelings, but help us to understand how we can help our readers.
Here is what we found in this reader survey.
We kicked off the survey with a general question asking our readers about their overall worry about money currently. 29% of respondents answered that they are ‘very worried’ about money, with 60% suggesting they are ‘quite worried’. These results are sad, but unsurprising, as inflation hits a record high of 9.4%.
Despite the unprecedented rise in food, fuel and energy prices, 9% of those who answered suggested they are ‘not very worried’ about money, and 2% said they are ‘not worried at all’.
This question received a fairly united response from our readers. Almost half (48%) of respondents suggested the government ‘could do more’, with the second most popular response being ‘not doing enough at all’, with 46% of the votes.
The remaining 6% of followers who answered our survey thought the government were ‘doing all they can’. There were no votes for the option ‘yes absolutely’, in regard to whether readers thought the government was doing enough to help people in these trying times.
Following on from the previous question, we ask exactly what our readers thought the government should be doing to help with rapidly rising costs.
“Cut direct and indirect taxes”, “decrease tax on everyday items” and “cut tax on fuel” were just some of the overwhelming responses regarding tax cuts and reductions. This seemed to be the most prominent theme amongst the answers of our respondents, suggesting a real desire for this move.
The second largest theme in the answers we received were regarding fuel and energy bill costs. “Lower heating and fuel prices” answered one reader. “Stop energy bills from rising” answered another. These answers were just a couple of many regarding energy bill increases.
With the energy price cap set to rise again in October, with energy bills costs expected to reach a staggering £3,500 annually, it is no wonder this is at the forefront of many people’s minds. One answer even suggested the profit of energy firms should be capped for a short period. This comes as news of energy firms Shell and Centrica have enjoyed profits $17 billion combined.
Many respondents even focused on helping the most vulnerable members of society directly. One of the responses read; “Give more direct aid to the most vulnerable in society,” with another suggesting the government need to do more to help “the working poor”. One response even suggest Universal Credit should be increased to help the most vulnerable in society and National Insurance increases should be reversed.
“Anything,” replied one respondent, “Anything is better than nothing.”
We then asked readers how well they thought the government had handled the cost-of-living crisis thus far. We asked this to get an overall view of how people perceived the governments’ efforts in these trying times.
The results were as follows:
The government have taken some steps to help people with the cost of living. Some steps include financial packages to help with energy bills, council tax rebates and increasing the tax thresholds. We asked our readers about their thoughts on whether the financial aid announced thus far has been correctly prioritised.
Just 3% of respondents answered ‘yes’, followed by 10% who answered with ‘don’t know’. The overwhelming response was ‘no’, with 61% of the total votes. Just over a quarter of those who answered (26%) did recognise some of the efforts the government has made, answering with ‘to an extent’.
Following on from the previous question, we asked those who answered ‘no’ to tell us what they thought the government should be prioritising financially.
Here are some of the responses we received:
“Defence, NHS, struggling families, disaster zones and Ukraine”
“Help unpaid carers!”
“The working class who are constantly missed and struggling”
“NHS, reducing energy bills, helping the public with the cost of living!”
“Free childcare for working parents, more help towards utility bills, possible tax break”
We then turned our questions to the future, and how people felt about the future of their finances. With the coming days looking grim, we wanted to know people’s thoughts and feelings.
Just 3% of those who answered voted for ‘not at all worried’. This was followed by ‘some worried, but not many’, which received 19% of the overall vote. Almost half of the respondents (45%) suggested they were ‘slightly worried’ about the future of their finances. One third of those who answered (33%), voted for ‘extremely worried’.
We then focused specifically on energy bills. We wanted to gauge people’s feelings about the upcoming cold months and how they feel ahead of a potential energy price cap increase.
An overwhelming number of the responses suggested our readers are very worried about paying their energy bills this autumn. “Very worried” and “very concerned” was the main response to this question. One response even stated; “I am worried as I am already struggling.”
Other responses included “I am fairly worried about [energy prices] creeping up even more.” Sadly, these responses came in floods, with another reader commenting; “I feel really stressed and anxious about it.”
If you are worried about your energy bills, there is help available. Turn2Us offer financial grants, money support and even have a benefits calculator. You can also get free, impartial advice from websites such as MoneyHelper and Citizen’s Advice. If you are worried about debt, charity StepChange are here for you.
Did you enjoy this reader survey? Make sure to follow us on Instagram @moneymagpie, to take part in upcoming surveys and polls!
*The reader survey was conducted on Instagram. Answers based on responses from 217 people.