The ongoing cost of living crisis is continuing to hit UK households as a new survey reveals a third of people have such tight finances they would struggle to find an extra £20 a month.

A survey by Citizens Advice showed 37 percent of adults would find it hard to find an extra £20.

Nearly 25 percent of people said they would find it “somewhat difficult”, seven percent said it would be very “very difficult,” and four percent “impossible.”

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The organisation’s findings said people were increasingly turning to extreme means to scrape by, like only eating cold meals.

Citizen’s Advice helped a historic number of people in December, helping them in obtaining emergency grants and sending them to food banks.

The findings are backed up by reports by StepChange, the UK’s leading debt counselling charity.

The charity has found more people were using candles or not turning the stove on “because they’re scared of the bills”.

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January is often the busiest month of the year for debt advice groups, as invoices for credit cards and other types of debt that cover the Christmas expense arrive.

But, StepChange has seen a significant rise in demand in recent months, as inflation rose to 11.1 percent in October before falling to 10.7 percent in November.

It has risen due to an increase in food and energy prices and the Russia-Ukraine war.

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Public First conducted a Citizens Advice study of 2,000 UK adults between December 5 and December 9.

It found that over a quarter (23 percent) had spent more on necessities like food, toiletries, and electricity than they had received in the previous three months.

More than two-thirds (67 percent) responded they could only do it for six months or less without further help.

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A third of participants said they had to use their funds to get by in the previous three months.

However, more than half (56 percent) of this group said they had depleted their funds or planned to do so over the next three months.

People are also suffering health issues over the cost of living, with 28 percent losing sleep at least once a week.

One in every seven said they ate cold meals throughout the winter to save money on energy.

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The charity’s chief executive, Dame Clare Moriarty, said: “Millions of households are at financial breaking point: running down savings, going without bare essentials and turning to food banks to get by.

“We’re already seeing record numbers of people coming to us for crisis support and this research shows people simply cannot cut back any further.”

Citizens Advice is asking the government to lay out a clear strategy for how it will target relief to those struggling or who are now scraping by but may face hardship when food and energy prices rise.

Source: The Guardian

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