England’s most deprived areas are seeing the biggest cuts as the cost of living rises

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The cost of living crisis is weighing more heavily on people living in the most deprived areas of England, new official data shows.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey exposed divisions across the country over how people are being affected by a higher cost of living.

People living in the most deprived areas of England were more likely to report spending less on food and essentials, at 58%, compared with a third of those living in the least deprived areas who said so.

It comes as a vast majority of adults in the UK reported seeing the price of their grocery store rise over the past month, as consumer price index (CPI) inflation hit 11.1% in October.

On the other hand, people living in the least deprived areas of England seemed more likely to have made their homes more energy efficient, the ONS’s study found.

More than a third said yes in November, compared to less than a quarter of those living in the most deprived areas.

The ONS used the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) to classify areas into five groups, ranging from the most deprived to the least deprived fifth of the areas.

The IMD takes into account key areas such as income, education, health and crime to determine an area’s deprivation – cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Kingston upon Hull and London are home to some of the most deprived neighborhoods in England.

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Wales and Scotland were not included in the analysis due to relatively smaller sample sizes in their study, the ONS said.

People living in the most deprived fifth of areas in England were more concerned about the rising cost of living, with 84% compared to 70% of those in the least deprived areas.

There was also a stark contrast between levels of concern about ability to pay utility bills as household prices rise across the UK.

More than three-fifths of those living in the most deprived fifth of England said they found it difficult to pay their utility bills in the last period in November, and a tenth said they were behind on their bills.

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Meanwhile, just over a third of people living in the most affluent areas said they were experiencing affordability issues, and only 2% said they were behind on their bills.

Earlier this month, Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey admitted that higher inflation is hitting lower-income households harder as more of their spending goes on basic needs such as food and energy.

He said: “Inflation is generally bad for the poorest and this inflation is particularly bad.

“The reason is that it’s concentrated on energy and food — these are the essentials of life.”

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