This week marks five years since the start of the recession in the UK.
We’ve officially been out of it for some time now, with growth returning to the economy, albeit slowly.
House prices are increasing. More mortgages are being approved. New car registrations are at a level not seen since before the recession.
But despite this, a survey* from Gocompare.com suggests that half of consumers in the UK now feel worse off than they did five years ago, with 45-to-64-year-olds feeling the hardest hit.
The research showed that only 29% say they feel better off now, while 22% believe their financial situation is largely unchanged.
To learn more, we’ve been chatting to people about their experiences over the past five years…
Sue Morris, 54, gift shop owner, Llandudno
“It’s been a real struggle. We now have to rely on tax credits to keep going. Holidays have stopped, we needed to replace the car last year but we couldn’t. We can’t even afford to insure the contents of our home.
“We’re being told by the media that things are getting better, but we’re not seeing it at ground level. The recession took about two years to hit the area – so we’ll probably be two years behind the rest of the country coming out of it.
“It’s down to individuals to do what they can with what they’ve got. I don’t know what else can be done, really.”
Paul Temple, training worker, 30, Pontypool
“I’m about the same as before the recession, really. We still have to watch what we spend and save like crazy for the simplest things. I think it's just the way of life at the moment. For example, I could afford to buy a new TV but, with so many other worries - job security and so forth - I just choose to hit the one I have until it comes on. And yes, I am serious!"
Dean Mushin, 35, electronic music PR/management director, Staines
“About five years ago, if I looked at my earnings they were well below what they should have been. I was just about earning what I was when I left uni 15 years ago. But my business has really matured since then. Everyone wants a set of decks now, so the industry is in much better shape. There's a lot more 'real' money around.
“I thought at the beginning of last year that I might be able to buy a house, but I just don’t have the money. That’s probably because of where I am in the world – the property prices round here weren’t really affected by the recession, and they’ve gone up since it finished. Even with Help to Buy I wouldn’t be able to afford the monthly repayments. I really need a big deposit, but I’m at a stage in my life where I don’t really want to live like a pauper for three years just so I can buy a one-bedroom flat."
*On 16-17 December 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,005 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.