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19 million UK workers concerned about meeting essential food and utility bills – The Exeter

by | Sep 26, 2023

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  • The equivalent of 19m UK workers anxious over affording food and utility bills, based on ONS employment data
  • Fear of missing mortgage or rental payments was the fastest rising concern in 2023
  • Three quarters (75%) of UK workers are worried about a future rise in the cost of living

Health and protection provider The Exeter has today launched its Health & Financial Fears Report for 2023, finding that the majority (58%) of UK workers are concerned about being able to afford basic food and utility bills – up from 52% in 2022 as the ongoing impact of the cost of living crisis affects the UK. 

Many are particularly worried about being able to pay their mortgage or rent, with the number of workers concerned about being able to make payments growing from 44% in 2022 to 52% in 2023, the steepest rise seen in the research. 

With high inflation and housing costs placing continued pressure on personal finances, The Exeter surveyed 2,000 working people on their most pressing financial and health fears over the past 12 months. The data revealed wide concern around increasing costs, with many already having to cut back on essential spending in order to balance their finances. 


The research revealed a significant increase in UK workers worried about a potential loss of earnings due to personal illness. With 47% concerned about losing their income, up from 43% in 2022. The number of UK workers reducing their pension contributions has also risen from 4% to 9%, now equating to almost three million people in the UK, despite the number of workers concerned about not saving enough remaining high at 65%.

However, the research highlights how workers are becoming acclimatized to the current economic situation. While 75% of respondents remain concerned about a continued rise in the cost-of-living in the UK, this represents a fall of 4% from 2022.

Isobel Langton, CEO of The Exeter, commented: 


“The health and financial fears of UK workers have continued over the past twelve months, with our latest research showing how widely the cost of living crisis is being felt. People are more worried than last year about paying bills, meeting rental or mortgage payments, a loss of employment, the availability of NHS services, and the list goes on. 

“None of us can predict when the uncertainty we are currently experiencing will pass, but we must not forget the role that we play in helping to protect the health and financial wellbeing of UK households. Whilst we should be mindful of the challenges people are currently facing, it’s important that we continue to talk about insurance, the options available and its role in providing more people with support and peace of mind during difficult times. 

“We hope our research helps inform wider conversations around protection, health insurance, and the added benefits included so that we can protect more people.”


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