Money Wellness
A man looking at his empty wallet
category iconcost of living
calendar icon18 Dec 2023

People with no pay rise but higher housing costs most at risk of financial hardship

Despite falling inflation, the cost-of-living crisis is far from over, according to a new report.

The study by the Resolution Foundation says people with higher housing costs than a year ago but no pay rise look most vulnerable.

Drawing on a YouGov survey of over 8,000 adults carried out in October 2023, the report finds, although there have been slight improvements over the past year, indicators of how people are faring are far more concerning than a few years ago.

Food insecurity

Over a fifth (22%) of those questioned were suffering moderate or severe food insecurity. Food insecurity is when a person doesn’t have consistent access to enough affordable, healthy food for a balanced diet.

Current levels are almost three times as high as pre-pandemic levels (8%).

Some groups hit harder than others

The study also reveals the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis aren’t affecting all sectors of society equally. It reports people with disabilities and those from black ethnic groups consistently fare worse.

Pay rises

According to the research, pay rises are also a major factor in how people are coping. The report states, although average earnings are growing quickly at the moment, people who haven’t received a pay rise are in a much more precarious position.

In the year to October 2023, employed respondents to the survey were more than twice as likely to have had a pay rise than to be earning the same or less (48% vs 23%).

But nearly a quarter (24%) of pay rises did not match inflation and a quarter of people had no pay rise at all, including 7% who saw their pay fall.


In the year to October 2023, over two fifths (42%) of working-age adults experienced a rise in their housing costs and about 14% didn’t get a pay rise, either because their employer didn’t offer one or they weren’t in work.

The Resolution Foundation points out someone who has renewed their mortgage in recent months and seen their repayments double, or who has had to sign a new tenancy agreement, will be more likely to face financial difficulties than those who own their home outright or whose mortgage or rent is fixed.

Double whammy

The 14% of working-age adults who are dealing with hikes in housing costs and stagnant pay are facing a double hit on their living standards. And it is these people most likely to face financial hardship in the coming months, the report concludes.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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