01 Sept 2022

What is the cost-of-living crisis?

The ‘cost of living crisis’ is a term which is used to refer to the financial climate. It is when the cost of everyday essentials such as food, fuel and energy rise much faster than the average household income. The UK has been an ongoing event starting in 2021.

What is causing the cost-of-living crisis?

There are many factors which have contributed to the cost-of-living crisis. For example:

  • Inflation - simply measures how fast costs have risen year on year, expressed as a percentage. According to The Big Issue, the last recorded rate of inflation in June was 9.4%, which means that the cost of essentials is 9.4% higher than June 2021.
  • A high demand for oil and gas outstripping available supply. The Ukraine conflict has exacerbated this further, with a large amount of supply usually coming from Russia.
  • Pandemic support awarded by the government coming to an end, such as reduced VAT rates for hospitality businesses
  • Disruptions to global supply chains, partly driven by Brexit and the pandemic
  • Reduced staffing levels across various businesses for the same reasons

How long is the cost-of-living crisis going to last?

Although there are many economists and professionals who are estimating how long the cost-of-living is going to last there is no definite answer. With another energy increase set for October and then again in January there is a lot of uncertainty with many economists predicting a recession in the UK.

What impact is this going to have?

The impact of the cost-of-living crisis is vast. As many struggle to pay rent and bills, to heat their own homes and businesses etc. the pressures can drive many to turn to alcohol to deal with the stresses of life. As the alcohol harm commission report in 2020 reveals how some high percentage alcohol is extremely affordable for most people. The amount of people drinking is high. This has a dangerous snowballing effect. The more people drinking the more people are harming themselves and others which has a knock-on effect to public services that are already struggling with being overwhelmed such as the NHS and the police force.

There are 1.26 million alcohol-related hospital admissions annually and alcohol costs the NHS £3.5 billion. The cost of alcohol-related crime is even higher, at £11.4 billion per annum.

Alcohol harm and price are directly linked. The alcohol duty system is inconsistent and perverse—white cider at 19p a unit feeds addiction. Affordability has grown significantly in the last four decades, driven by low prices in off-trade settings. Cuts to alcohol duty at the annual Budget have not helped—beer duty is now 21% lower than in 2012-13 according to the Institute of Alcohol Studies.

As a BBC report explained, the cost-of-living crisis is the cause of many new cases of domestic abuse. Many individuals won’t leave their abusive home over fears of where they will go. The report describes some of those who have fled have been housed in properties that are barely liveable.

Domestic abuse charities said to the BBC that the demand for their support has risen by 1/3 since the cost of living began. There is often a 5 hour wait to get through to a support worker. 96% of victims have said the cost-of-living has made their abuse worse and 73% of people can’t afford to leave their abusive home.

If you need dometic violence support:

How much can I save by quitting alcohol?

Drinkaware previously reported: ‘the average UK household spends £17.60 on alcohol a week – or nearly £1,000 a year.1 But this figure varies for everyone and can be a lot higher or lower depending on several things, including whether you drink at home or while out, the types of drinks you have, and how much you drink.’

UK Chief Medical Officers’ low risk drinking guidelines recommend drinking no more than 14 units a week spread evenly throughout the week with several drink-free days and no bingeing.

The following examples show how much an individual might spend over the course of a week or year, with an alcohol intake of just under 14 units a week.

  1. Six pints of lager, or six medium-sized glasses of wine in a pub: £24 a week (£1,248 a year)
  2. Five small bottles of beer and five bottles of alcopops in a bar or nightclub: £35 a week (£1,820 a year)
  3. Six medium-sized glasses of wine at home (bought from a supermarket): £8.40 a week (£436.80 a year)
  4. Fourteen single measures of spirits at home (bought from a supermarket): £7.18 a week (£373.10 a year)

These figures are just based on the average person. Many people may drink more or less than this. If someone is struggling with an alcohol addiction these figures may be significantly higher. By quitting or reducing the amount of alcohol intake there is a potential to save more money than you may have realised. The cost-of-living crisis having a major impact on households it may be something to consider.

Where to seek help?

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly treatment advisors. They are here to help you get the best advice and support to get you back on track.

As well as this, if you have any concerns about the cost-of-living crisis there are some useful links below:

  1. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/family/cost-of-living-survival-kit/
  2. https://www.bigissue.com/life/money/money-advice-how-to-access-financial-support-quickly-and-easily/
  3. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/get-help-paying-your-bills/grants-and-benefits-to-help-you-pay-your-energy-bills/