Many households across Wales struggle to make ends meet, but the increase in the cost of living that we are currently experiencing has made life extremely difficult for thousands. Rising costs have left less money in the pockets of thousands with difficult decisions needing to be made as they try to pay their bills, keep their homes and feed their families.
A recent survey of 6000 people revealed how they will be impacted by the cost of living and the changes that they will be forced to make and manage their finances. 94% of those surveyed said that the cost-of-living increases will have an adverse effect on household finances with 26% saying it will have an extremely detrimental effect. As a result, households have said that in order to cut their own costs and make ends meet they will have to turn their heating off, sit in poorly lit rooms, ration showers, eat cold meals, cancel TV subscriptions, borrow more, save less and sell personal items.
The rising cost-of-living is not just a Wales and wider UK issue; it is something that is affecting millions across the globe. It has been caused predominantly by high inflation outstripping wage and benefits increases which has been a result of a variety of factors, including the COVID pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, fuel shortages and supply issues. Sadly, at the moment, things do not seem to be getting better, and potential solutions to our issues in the UK have caused the value of the pound to fall and interest rates to rise, meaning that already increasing costs of goods and services could be forced to increase further.
For families in Wales, the cost of basic goods and services needed by the average two-child household has risen by £400 a month. Loughborough University research has indicated that the annual costs have risen by an annual rate of 13%, which is more than the 9% rate of inflation found in official statistics.
The problems caused by the rising cost of living are having wider impacts on our communities across Wales. Individuals’ health and wellbeing are being seriously impacted as they stress more about what is currently happening and are worried about the future. Earlier this year nearly one in five respondents to a survey undertaken by Money and Mental Health said that they had missed an appointment related to health care due to not being able to afford the cost of travelling there.
It is important that the Cii continue to provide opportunities for those who are the most affected by the increasing cost of living to maintain good health and wellbeing. Through this difficult time, we will continue to support all those participating in our Community Regeneration projects as best we can, offering advice on guidance and linking them to help available to them. We will continue to do what we can to remove all barriers to our provision so that our participants can improve their health and wellbeing, learn new skills and gain qualifications in a way that does not leave them out of pocket in any way.
For help with the cost of living, please contact https://gov.wales/get-help-cost-living