Cost of living crisis has made Britons poorer by £1,500 since Covid pandemic

Cost of living crisis has made Britons poorer by £1,500 since Covid pandemic

Nigel Farage on the UK falling into a recession

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 16/02/2024

- 13:49

Updated: 16/02/2024

- 17:22

Households are worse-off due to the rise in the cost of living with there being “few signs” of good news for the economy

Britons have lost an estimated £1,500 per person since the onset of the cost of living crisis, according to a leading think tank.

The Resolution Foundation warned that the UK economy has not experienced growth in two years following the news that the country fell into a recession late last year.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2023.

A recession is defined as happening when a country experiences two consecutive quarters of negative growth with the UK technically meeting this definition.

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Couple going over finances

The cost of living crisis has hit families hard in recent years


Outside of during the Covid-19 pandemic, this is the first time the country has experienced a recession in 15 years.

Despite this being first non-pandemic recession in over a decade, households have struggled with ongoing rise in the cost of living.

This has been exacerbated by inflation-hiked prices and fluctuating energy costs, as well as the Bank of England’s intervention over interest rates.

Research carried out by the Resolution Foundation has determined the average person has lost £1,500 on average since the beginning of the cost of living crisis.

James Smith, the think tank’s research director, described the UK as a “stagnation nation” with there being “few signs” of improvement in the foreseeable future.

He explained: “Britain has fallen into recession, and a far deeper living standards downturn. Even this weak data is flattered by a rising population.

“After accounting for population growth, the UK economy hasn’t grown since early 2022, and fallen far behind its pre-cost of living crisis path, with an equivalent loss of around £1,500 per person.

“The big picture is that Britain remains a stagnation nation, and that there are precious few signs of a recovery that will get the economy out of it.”

Energy billsSoaring energy bills have been an ongoing issue for families GETTY

The Government has pushed blame on yesterday’s recession news on the Bank of England’s decision to raise the base rate over the past year. However, Iain McLeod, head of private client consultancy at St. James's Place, believes this is an inaccurate assessment.

Mr McLeod said: “During previous periods of recession, central banks have often lowered interest rates in order to stimulate demand in the economy and help to return to economic growth.

“Whilst rate cuts are still forecast in 2024 by many economists, this cannot be completely relied upon – as higher interest rates is the main weapon in the war against inflation, which has proved very persistent.

“Similarly, previous periods of recession have led to falling oil and gas prices – however with the ongoing war in Ukraine and tensions in the Middle East, this cannot be relied upon either. It would be prudent to allow for of period of higher household bills given the ongoing uncertainty.”

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