Readers' survey: Almost 80 per cent worse off financially than a year ago
- Credit: Pexels
As families begin to feel the pinch of the cost of living crisis, we asked our readers to take part in a survey to let us know how they are coping.
Of those who responded across Stevenage, North Herts, Bedfordshire villages and South Cambs, 78 per cent said they were worse off financially than they were a year ago, while 9.8 per cent said their financial situation hadn't changed.
Respondents from across Herts said they'd seen cost increases in a number of areas, but most notably in the cost of their food shopping, with 94.4 per cent feeling the pinch at the checkouts.
Overall inflation has risen to seven per cent - the highest in three decades.
Following the energy price cap increase introduced from April 1 - which Citizens Advice North Herts believes will plunge 73 per cent of residents into fuel poverty - 91 per cent of survey participants said also seen an increase in gas prices.
The energy price cap rose by 54 per cent in April.
Many have said the cost of living crisis will cause people to "choose between eating and heating".
When asked what items respondents - in Stevenage, North Herts, Beds and South Cambs - would cut back on in order to cope of the increase in costs, 62.7 per cent said they'd need to cut back on food shopping, while 68.6 per cent said they'd use the heating less frequently.
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The Trussell Trust, which supports a network of foodbanks across the UK - including Letchworth Foodbank - reported that it had distributed more than 2.1 million food parcels in 2021/22 - an increase of 81 per cent since 2016/17.
This number does not include community food hubs, or other organisations which do not require the user to show a foodbank voucher.
In January last year, Letchworth Foodbank - which also serves Hitchin and Baldock - reported a "tremendous growth" in service users during the pandemic.
The number of people needing emergency support - such as the use of foodbanks - has increased by 27 per cent in North Herts between January and March this year, according to Citizens Advice.