Consumers’ message to Osborne: help us cope with household bills that have climbed 25%

Simon Read

SimonSad 179x300 Consumers message to Osborne: help us cope with household bills that have climbed 25%The cost of household bills has soared by a quarter in the past five years, according to research by uSwitch. Ahead of next Wednesday’s Budget, the comparison site looked at essentials to see how much they’ve risen and, for anyone who’s found their finances a little tighter since the recession, the results will come as no surprise.

But I’d like to draw their attention to George Osborne before he signs off on any new plans he has to hit ordinary people’s finances even harder in 2013-14. I’d hope that rather than seeking new ways to squeeze people, he’d look at those that have suffered the most financially since 2008 and think about easing their pain.

Car insurance costs have climbed the most in the last half-decade, soaring 67 per cent, but the cost of heating and lighting your home isn’t far behind, with gas up 52 per cent and electricity 32 per cent.

Petrol has risen 33 per cent over the period, but is set to rise sharply soon with the AA predicting that pump prices could hit their highest-ever level by Easter.

The increases have left the majority of consumers more worried about rising living costs than their health, according to a survey by the comparison site. Here’s the full list…

Essential Bills 2008-13

Monthly bill 2008 2013 Increase
Rent £467 £577 24%
Council tax £80 £92 15%
Food £220 £256 17%
Gas £44 £67 52%
Electricity £34 £45 32%
Water £28 £32 14%
Petrol £250 £331 33%
Phone line rental £12 £15 31%
Broadband £17 £5 -68%
Car insurance £57 £95 67%
Buildings insurance £17 £19 12%
Contents insurance £11 £10 -9%
Total monthly spend £1,237 £1,544 25%

Source:, data correct as at 7 March, 2013

Don’t think that the two-thirds reduction in the cost of broadband is an anomaly – that’s simply the result of technology getting cheaper and more competitive.

Interestingly pay – for those lucky folk that have had increases – has gone up by just 6 per cent over the same period. However, in real terms, wages have fallen back to 2003 levels.

So what can the Chancellor learn from these figures? According to uSwitch’s survey, consumers want Osborne to put tackling rising utility bills as his top priority, closely followed by petrol prices. They also urge him to stimulate economic growth and sort out the benefits system.

Will he listen?

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  • bobbellinhell

    This isn’t really so shocking, the annualised rate of increase there is about 5%, which has been the real rate of inflation for the last 10 or 15 years.

  • Terrence Henderson

    I know a pensioner that has a one bar, a light saving bulb,one radio and eats mainly sandwiches, that had an electric bill of £106 for the last month.

  • natly

    Broadband is only cheaper if you take a deal with a data cap – if you use the internet for PC or console gaming or TV and films you will be paying at least £30/month for an unlimited plan. In 2008 you could get unlimited broadband for about £10 per month.

  • Pacificweather

    What is shocking is the lack action by workers who have not rushed to join trade unions. Those in unions have done considerably better than those outside them.

  • Robert Charig

    A one bar electric fire uses 1 kilowatt per hour. The current average price per Kw is around 15 to 16 pence therefore the price per month will be around £100 if the fire was kept on constantly. However pensioners can get discounts and winter fuel allowances as well as heating and insulation grants. Many are not aware of what is available and a lack of support can make life far more difficult for the elderly. Let us not forget that domestic fuel used to be zero rated for VAT and which party turned us blue in the winter when we should have gone green.

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