Public expects rise in cost of living while optimism for economic recovery remains low

Nine in ten expect their monthly bills and other regular outgoings to rise next year

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs, Ipsos MORI North
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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Ipsos MORI’s latest Political Monitor shows there are clear concerns for the public when it comes to the cost of living, with 9 in 10 expecting their monthly bills and other regular outgoings to rise next year (and over half thinking they will rise a lot),  around 8 in 10 believing inflation will rise and similar for the taxes they pay, and 7 in 10 saying mortgage interest rates will rise.

Overall, just over half of Britons (54%) believe that their standard of living will remain the same over the next year, while 16% think it will rise and 28% expect it to fall. This is a similar picture to 2012, but more pessimistic than 2013-2015. Women are more likely than men to say that their standard of living will fall (25% vs. 31%) as are older people – 33% of those aged 55+ said it would fall compared with 19% of 18–34 year-olds.

New findings from the poll also include:

  • Individuals are a bit more optimistic when it comes to their household income. Three in ten (31%) predict it will rise compared with 18% who think it will fall. Half (49%) think it will not change.
  • Nine in ten (90%) think their monthly bills and other regular outgoings will rise in the next year with more than half (56%) thinking it will be by a lot – 7% think they will stay the same and 2% think they will fall.
  • Three-quarters (77%) think the taxes that they pay will rise (29% say by a lot) – 18% think they will stay the same while 2% think they will fall. On this measure young people are more likely to expect a rise than older people (85% of 18-34s vs 69% of those aged 55+).
  • Just over 7 in 10 (73%) expect both monthly bills and the tax they pay to rise over the next year.
  • Many also believe inflation will rise. A large majority (82%) think it will rise over the next year (38% saying a lot) with just 4% saying it will fall. This is significantly higher than the period between 2012-2015 when its highest point was 56% in December 2012 thinking inflation would rise.
  • The public also expect mortgage interest rates to go up in the next year with 70% saying they will rise and 10% thinking they will stay the same (4% think they will fall). Again, this is higher than the 2012-2015 period, when at most 60% believed interest rates would rise.
  • Two in five (39%) think unemployment will rise in the next year while a third (34%) think it will fall. A quarter (24%) think it will stay the same. This is though more optimistic than between 2012-13.

Predictions

Meanwhile, there remains low levels of optimism for economic recovery in the next year with the survey showing more than half (54%) thinking the British economy will get worse over the next 12 months, 28% saying it will improve, and 17% saying it will stay the same, giving a net Economic Optimism Index of -26.

Gideon Skinner, Head of Politics at Ipsos MORI, says of the findings:

While much of the focus has been on standards in public life, these figures are a reminder that for the public worries about the economy and cost of living are likely to be just as if not more important. Nearly all are expecting monthly bills to rise, and a majority think they will rise a lot – especially women and older people. Meanwhile, concerns about rising inflation and interest rates are even higher than on average during the 2012-2015 period (although there is a bit more optimism about unemployment), as are worries about standards of living – although most think this is likely to stay the same. This is all against a backdrop of more general economic pessimism since the summer, suggesting this will be a priority for the Government looking ahead.

Technical Note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,007 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone: 29th October – 4th November 2021. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error. Note minor change in question wording compared with 2012-2015, moving from a 3-point to a 5-point scale.

The author(s)

  • Gideon Skinner Public Affairs
  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Glenn Gottfried Public Affairs, Ipsos MORI North
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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