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UK households saving money during lockdown, researchers find

By August Graham
Three-quarters of British households have saved money during the lockdown, according to UK new figures.

UK households have saved an average of £300 on day-to-day expenses as they stop going to restaurants and the cinema, and slash fuel bills as cars sit largely unused up and down the country.

Not paying gym memberships and TV sports packages have also saved a fifth of households money.

However, many households are still struggling, as 19% reported to comparethemarket.com that they worry about making ends meet in this week’s figures.

Although high, the figure was a drop from 20% last week.

Meanwhile, the proportion of households who struggled to manage their finances over the last week dropped two percentage points to 16%, the lowest since the survey began in April.

“We are starting to see green shoots of financial confidence from UK households, but the bad news still outweighs the good news – the savings households have managed to make during lockdown may offer some temporary respite however, when lockdown lifts, the cost of living will go back to previous levels, rainy day funds have been raided and borrowing will need to be repaid,” said Anna McEntee, product director at comparethemarket.com.

“People are still very worried about the long-term hit their finances will take and this anxiety is especially pronounced among those with children at home and extra people to care for.”

Comparethemarket.com reported that 23% of families who have children living at home struggled to pay bills over the past week, down from 29% a week earlier.

Meanwhile 76% of families with children have managed to save an average of £414.

A quarter of households with children said they had to dip into savings, 10% have taken on loans from banks and 11% have borrowed from friends and family.

The study also found that people are becoming increasingly worried about going back into public.

For the fifth week in a row, the number of people who say they would not be confident going to restaurants, cafes, pubs and cinemas rose, from 53% to 54%.

Ms McEntee said: “The Government has announced more details on its timeline to reopen the country for business, but the nationwide hesitancy to get back out into society could have a significant impact on the UK’s economic recovery.

“Even if financial confidence is tentatively increasing across households, this will do little good for the wider economy if it doesn’t translate into the spending in retail and hospitality sectors which have been so heavily hit by the pandemic.”
(PA)