19th March 2015
Despite the Chancellor George Osborne declaring that Britain is “walking tall again”, the majority of Britons, at 62%, are still not feeling the benefit of economic recovery claims new research from comparison site uSwitch.
The analysis found a larger majority at 76% admit they have seen no improvement in their general standard of living over the last 12 months, with 51% actually enduring an increase in essential household bills.
As such in a bid to cope with the higher costs, 54% are reducing the amount they spend on food, 57% have cut down on heating and hot water, while 21% have even had to cut back on dentist appointments and prescriptions.
The research also highlights that the Chancellor is out of touch with consumers’ financial struggles – almost two thirds, at 65%, saying he does not understand the financial fears of ordinary people. Furthermore, 57% do not trust the current Government to make the best decisions for their financial future.
The Chancellor failed to address some of the country’s biggest issues, according to the research. Some 70% of consumers cited NHS cuts as the top issue ignored in yesterday’s speech followed by care costs for the elderly, at 57%, the cost of energy, at 54% and youth unemployment, with 33%.
However there were some popular policies announced, including attractive tax cuts for first-time buyers, workers and savers. Consumers are very satisfied with the introduction of the new flexible ISA, the introduction of tax-free savings allowance and the rise in personal tax allowance to £10,800. In addition to this, 30% welcome the unexpected new Help to Buy ISA.
Overall more people, at 29%, feel they’re financially better off than 20% who now feel worse off as a result of the announcements made in the Budget.
David Mann, money expert at uSwitch said: “The Chancellor has dubbed Britain ‘the comeback country’ but many aren’t yet seeing the benefits of economic recovery. With many still being forced to make cutbacks across their everyday lives to have a basic standard of living, there’s still a long way to go.
“There was some good news for savers who have suffered a raw deal throughout the recession with rock bottom interest rates. A rise in the minimum wage is encouraging and thanks to the increase in the tax-free personal allowance, the average earner will be £120 better off a year. However, Osborne’s claim that ‘the pound goes further these days’ has left many believing he doesn’t understand the financial fears of ordinary people.”