People Believe Inflation Outstrips Government Figures

By: Arouse
Britons are increasingly struggling with inflationary pressures, new research shows.

In a study carried out by Fool it was revealed that more than nine out of ten (93 per cent) consumers strongly disagree with official figures which put inflation at 2.2 per cent. On the other hand, just seven per cent of people think that living costs rises are in reality somewhere around the headline rate. Research from the personal finance publication showed that the real rate of inflation felt by Britons stands at an average of 8.1 per cent.

Such a figure could well represent a surge in monetary difficulties for many consumers, as the same study carried out six months ago put inflation at 7.3 per cent. The current level is also 0.7 per cent higher than this time last year. Meanwhile, more than half (53 per cent) of people surveyed think that living cost rises at present stand somewhere between seven and 12 per cent. However, five per cent of respondents believe that inflation is currently more than 15 per cent.

Following on from such perceived financial pressures, it is possible that many consumers could be experiencing difficulties in meeting various demands on their spending. Such areas may well include personal loan repayments, credit and store cards, utility bills and mortgage or rent costs.

Monetary difficulties could be particularly pronounced for those living in the West Midlands, where they believe they face a rate of 8.8 per cent, the highest figure recorded throughout the country. On the other hand, people from Northern Ireland appear to be the least affected, claiming inflation for them is at 6.8 per cent. However, in September 2007 consumers in the principality reported that they faced living cost rises of 8.1 per cent.

David Kuo, head of personal finance for Fool, said: "The government can boast as much as it wants about its success over controlling inflation. However, people feel inflation through the shrinking pound in their pockets; they don't experience it through a theoretical government shopping basket. For most consumers, the true rate of inflation is much higher, which means that their pockets are being methodically picked through meaningless government figures."

Mr Kuo went on to state that if Britons were actually to follow the headline rate of inflation they would need to buy the exact same items as is in the government's consumer basket, regardless if they actually needed the product. This, it was suggested, would see consumers having to go to "preposterous" lengths and waste high amounts of money. The Fool chief stated: "Instead, consumers should revisit their budgets regularly. It may mean taking drastic action to ensure that household income comfortably exceeds expenditure. But the alternative may be much less palatable. It could mean stockpiling Brussels sprouts just because the government says they are cheaper."

For those consumers who are concerned about their capacity to manage their money, a debt consolidation loan may be of help. By taking out this type of cheap loan, borrowers can merge numerous demands on their spending into a single affordable monthly repayment. Earlier this year Cheshire Building Society advised of the need for consumers to take steps in sorting out their finances, particularly for those who are struggling with debts after the festive period. The money lender recommended that people keep a diary of their spending to help identify areas where they can reduce expenditure.
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