England’s most deprived areas are hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis, according to official data.
The latest research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) exposes divisions across the country over how people are being affected by a higher cost of living.
Those in England’s most deprived counties were more likely to report spending less on food and supplies in the two weeks to November 20, 58% said this compared to a third of those living in the least deprived areas.
It comes as a vast majority of adults in the UK reported seeing the price of their grocery store rise over the past month, as consumer price index inflation hit 11.1% in October.
On the other hand, people living in the least deprived areas of England seemed more likely to have made their homes more energy efficient, the ONS’s study found. More than a third said they did so in November, compared to less than a quarter of those living in the most deprived areas.
The ONS used the Multiple Deprivation Index (IMD) to classify areas into five groups, ranging from the most deprived to the least deprived fifth of the areas. The IMD takes into account key factors such as income, education, health and crime to determine an area’s deprivation – cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Hull and London are home to some of the most deprived neighbourhoods.
Wales and Scotland were not included in the analysis due to relatively smaller sample sizes in their study, the ONS said.
People living in the most deprived fifth of areas in England were 84% more concerned about the rising cost of living compared to 70% of those in the least deprived areas.
There was also a stark contrast between levels of concern about the ability to pay utility bills as household prices soared across the UK. More than three-fifths of those living in the most deprived fifth of England said they found it difficult to pay their utility bills in the last period in November, and a tenth said they were behind on their bills.
Meanwhile, just over a third of people living in the most affluent areas said they were experiencing affordability issues, and only 2% said they were behind on their bills.
Earlier this month, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said higher inflation hit lower-income households harder as more of their spending went on basic needs such as food and energy.
He said: “Inflation is generally bad for the poorest and this inflation is particularly bad. The reason is that it focuses on energy and food – these are the essentials of life.