Rising cost of living sees over 11 million people seek money help in the last three months

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  • A fifth of UK adults have sought free help, money guidance or debt advice. 
  • One in four have spoken to companies about extra support, e.g. energy suppliers.  
  • Young people are the most likely to need help. 
  • Free money guidance and debt advice is available, but one in five don’t know where to find it. 

More than 11 million people across the UK have looked for money help in the last three months alone, new research from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) suggests.

The survey of 3,000 adults, carried out for Talk Money Week (November 7-11), shows that the rising cost of living has led to one in five (21%) seeking free help or guidance.

One in four (24%) say they’ve spoken to companies like their bank or energy supplier for extra support, while a fifth (18%) have been searching for free debt advice.

Money problems are also much more common among young people compared to the over 55s. More than a third of 18-24 year-olds have needed free help and guidance (37% vs. 7%), help from companies (37% vs. 12%) and debt advice (34% vs. 5%).

The figures have been released to mark Talk Money Week, an annual awareness campaign run by MaPS encouraging everyone to open up and talk about money.

The theme this year is credit, with schools, financial services firms, charities and employers also joining in and many planning their own Talk Money events.

With the cost of living rising sharply, MaPS says it’s more important than ever for people to get control of their finances and find support for money worries. However, the poll also reveals that one in five (20%) simply don’t know where to turn for help.

In response, MaPS is urging anyone who’s struggling to use its MoneyHelperOpens in a new window services for free guidance on topics like everyday money, benefits, pensions and debt. It also offers free, one-to-one sessions over the phone, WhatsApp and email, plus information on talking to creditors and signposts to free debt advice.

In addition, it provides the Bill prioritiser tool, which helps people with budgeting, prioritising their bills and finding help if they’re struggling to pay.

Caroline Siarkiewicz, Chief Executive of the Money and Pensions Service, said: 

“Our research shows that households across the country are starting to feel the strain from the rising cost of living. This can be extremely stressful and difficult to cope with, so it’s important to act as soon as money worries begin.

“This Talk Money Week, we want people to have all the tools and information they need to take control of their finances. By being empowered to make the right decisions, everyone can make the most of their money and pensions.

“If you’re struggling during these difficult times, our message is clear; free help and advice is available, so you don’t have to struggle on alone. Tackling money worries early can be life-changing and it often leads to increased confidence, better mental health and more financial resilience for the future.

“A variety of resources, information and advice are available via our MoneyHelper tool, so I’d advise anyone who needs help to get in touch right away.”

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Notes to editors

  • This survey was conducted among 3,000 people in the UK aged 18+ in September 2022. It is nationally representative.
  • Asked if they had sought free help or guidance in the last three months, 21% agreed, 15% neither agreed nor disagreed and 64% disagreed.
  • Asked if they had sought debt advice in the last three months, 18% agreed, 15% neither agreed nor disagreed, 67% disagreed.
  • Asked if they’d spoken to companies like their energy supplier or bank about additional support they could provide, 24% agreed, 17% neither agreed nor disagreed and 58% disagreed.
  • According to the ONS, there are approximately 52.9 million people aged 18 or over in the UK.

About Talk Money Week

The week is an opportunity for everyone to get involved with events and activities across the UK which help people have more open conversations about their money – from pocket money to pensions – and continue these conversations year-round.

This year’s Talk Money Week will focus on the theme of ‘credit’ – to help demystify some of the jargon, build people’s understanding of credit products, and what their options are, including other forms of support that might be suitable. However, we encourage people to use the week as an opportunity to talk about any aspect of money. 

Find out more about Talk Money Week.

Media enquiries

For media enquiries please contact MaPS Press Office:

020 8132 5284Opens in a new window

media@maps.org.ukOpens in a new window