Rising cost of energy tops consumers' concernsConsumer confidence is still low, says Which?

14 June 2011

Lady looking at energy bills with calculator

A Which? survey shows the cost of energy is the biggest concern for consumers as 89% say price rises present worries. 

The Which? survey, of over 1,200 UK consumers, explored current economic concerns. The results show energy is the predominant worry with food prices, public spending cuts, tax levels and mortgage rates following closely behind. Just 32% of people said that they had confidence in the UK economy.

Inflation figures announced

The official inflation figures, being published later today, are expected to confirm that the cost of living continues to rise in the UK. Last week Scottish Power announced price rises of 19% for gas and 10% for electricity, and Which? expects the other large energy companies will follow suit.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said 'consumers are most worried about the spiralling costs of energy. Yet more price hikes are on the horizon, and there's a limit to how much people can cut their spending on essentials.'

Top concerns for consumers

The Which? survey showed other key consumer concerns were:

  • food prices 83% 
  • public spending cuts 79%
  • future tax levels 76%
  • mortgage rates 72%

Further down the list, but still of major concern, were house prices, house repossession and debt.

Cutting down on spending

Faced with a rising cost of living, over three quarters of people have cut back on spending in the last few months, and two thirds plan to curb their spending in future. Many have decided to delay major life changes as a result of the economy, with one in ten people admitting they have put off changing job or moving house.

Energy market needs reform

Although the government has recently taken measures to improve competition in the energy market, there is still a lot more to be done to give consumers a fair and transparent energy deal. Fairer deals may help to reduce the worry over the cost of energy.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says 'the UK energy market is fundamentally failing consumers. A reduction in red tape for small energy suppliers will make it easier for them to take on the Big Six, but this is just tinkering around the edges when what we really need is wholesale reform.'

Which? Energy campaigns

Which? campaigns to make people's lives fairer, simpler and safer. We're currently working on energy issues such as the Green Deal, confusing energy tariffs, and smart meters. To find out more about our campaigns, follow WhichAction on Twitter or facebook