Large increases in energy prices in recent months have put households under increasing financial pressure, experts have warned.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Consumer Price Index inflation remained steady at 2.8% in March.
While CPI inflation stayed constant, the RPI index of inflation increased to 3.3%, with both still above the government’s target of 2%.
The level of CPI inflation, while not going up last month, still far outstrips the 1.3% growth in average earnings.
The Bank of England predicts that CPI inflation will climb higher later this year, and could go above 3%.
Economists predict that increased food prices, along with gas and electricity bills, will be the main drivers of an inflation rise.
“The huge squeeze on living standards shows little sign of letting up, with inflation continuing to outstrip wages,” said Frances O’Grady, chief executive of the TUC.
“The recent hike in energy bills has only added to the pressure being felt by struggling households, who in many cases spend over a quarter of their incomes on utility bills.”
Recent research has found that many Brits are already struggling to keep up with their utility bills, with 20% of households in debt to their energy company.
Consumers’ energy debt now totals a whopping £637 million, an increase of £159 million since the same time last year.
“The soaring number of households in debt to energy suppliers is a clear indication of the pressure people are coming under just to meet the cost of their basic bills,” said Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, which carried out the research.
“The fact that a million more households have fallen behind in the last year so that over five million are now in debt to suppliers tells us everything we need to know about the impact of sky-high energy prices.”
If you are currently in a tough financial situation, responsible lenders offer unsecured loans which are available to give you access to the funds you may require. Of course, no such loan should be taken lightly, and as with any form of borrowing it is important that you are able to meet repayments.