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Five years since the UK went into recession, half of Brits feel worse off than they did in December 2008

15 January 2014
  • 45 to 64 year olds feel hardest hit by the financial downturn
  • Young adults (18 to 24 year olds) are almost three times more likely to need help to save money than the population as a whole
  • 16% of people are seriously worried about their finances
  • Just under a third (32%) feel worse off than they did this time last year

New research into the state of the nation’s finances reveals that half of all adults feel worse off now than they did five years ago, when the UK economy first went into recession.* Only 29% say they feel better off now, while 22% believe their financial situation is largely unchanged.

The survey, commissioned by price comparison website, revealed that respondents in the age groups 45 to 54 and 55 to 64 were feeling the pinch the most, with 63% of 45 to 54 year olds and 61% of those aged 55 to 64 saying they were worse off than they were five years ago.

The state of the nation’s finances survey also found that:

  • 16% of respondents urgently need to make savings
  • 17% say that they tend to run out of money before for the end of the month
  • 5% rely on credit cards to make ends meet
  • 13% of those surveyed expect to have a credit card debt throughout 2014
  • 11% are concerned about being able to pay their rent or their mortgage

When asked to describe their financial situation 28% of those surveyed said that they could do more to save money – the figure was significantly higher in the 18 to 24 year old age group where just under half (48%) thought they could do more to reduce the amount they spent. The survey highlighted that money management issues were a particular concern to younger adults:

  • Just under three times the number of 18 to 24 year olds (22%) said that they need more help to save money (8% for the survey as a whole)
  • 28% expect that in 2014 they are going to have to ask friends and family for financial help - four times the number for the survey as a whole (7%)
  • Over a quarter (26%) of young people say they are seriously worried about their finances (16% for the total survey)
  • Double the number (10%) of 18 to 24 year old have considered a payday loan compared with the total for the survey (5%)

Claire Peate,’s customer insight manager, commented: “While there has been talk of encouraging signs of recovery in recent months it is clear from this research that there are millions of people in the UK still suffering from the impact of the credit crunch and the economic downturn that led to the worst recession in this country for many decades.

“The generation that arguably had the best of the boom years – the 45 to 64 year olds – have felt the impact on their lifestyle more keenly than any other group. Meanwhile those young adults who have been making their way in the world since the downturn began are more likely to need financial help than any other age group.

“For many people, the impact of the last five years is that there is now no margin at all in their finances, with credit cards making up the difference each month and genuine concerns about maintaining rent and mortgage commitments as a result. Keeping on top of rising costs is an ongoing battle which comparison sites can help with. Credit card interest, insurance, and energy bills can all take a big chunk out of household incomes, but can also be fairly straightforward to manage.”


Notes to editors:

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.

*The UK officially went into recession on 23 January 2009 following two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.