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Over half of Brits agree cost-of-living crisis breaking down money struggle stigma

More than half of Brits agree the cost-of-living crisis has helped to break down some of the stigma of financial difficulty, with more people now feeling confident to open up about money worries.

A study of 2,000 people found that 43% are now more likely to reach out for support if they are struggling with money, than before prices began to rise in 2021.

A staggering 86% of people said they still have financial worry. Topping the list of day-to-day expenses causing the most concern for Brits are energy bills (42%), emergency repairs in the home (35%) and groceries (33%).

Three in 10 (29%) said that before the crisis, they would have been likely to ‘keep their head in the sand’ when it came to financial worries.

But now four in five (79%) say it is important to talk to someone and ask for help if you need it, and those who do say it has helped them feel supported (43%), less stressed (33%) and calmer (28%).

Phillippa Brown, deputy director at Smart Energy GB, said: “It’s clear that talking about worries and concerns can be a real relief and helps people overcome challenges.

“Half the respondents to our survey agree that the cost-of-living crisis has helped to break down some of the stigma around financial difficulty, so we’ve teamed up with Rugby League to encourage anyone worried about an energy bill to talk to their supplier to find out what support is available, like requesting a smart meter.

“Smart meters and their display units help households track how much energy they use and find simple ways to reduce it.”

To help shine a light on the benefits of sharing, England Rugby League stars Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Amy Hardcastle and Alex Walmsley have come together to reveal some of their biggest challenges in a new film.

The trio have teamed up with Smart Energy GB to encourage people to talk to others, particularly if, like many others, they are concerned about paying an energy bill.

If people are struggling financially, it’s important they let their energy supplier know as they may be able to help.

One way they can help is by installing a smart meter at no extra cost, so households can track their energy use more easily.

In a separate poll, 50% of respondents who track their energy use with a smart meter said that looking at their in-home display makes them feel in control.

It also found that smart meter owners think they save an average of £140 per year on energy bills by using it to help with energy management.

Jones-Buchanan said: “Every day I see people connecting through sport and it’s hugely encouraging that 60 per cent of those that do, find it has a positive impact on their mental health. Playing professional rugby league, right up to England level, was one of the most rewarding achievement’s I’ve ever had, but when I retired, I had to reidentify who I was. 

“I couldn’t have done that without that sporting community around me.  If you’re struggling, it can help to share your situation with the people around you too. If you’re worried about paying an energy bill you can speak to your supplier who could help by offering you a smart meter to get more control over your energy spend.”

Jamie Jones-Buchanan
Leeds Rhinos legend Jones-Buchanan spent his entire professional career at the club. Credit: Olly Hassell/SWpix.com

Hardcastle added: “One of my biggest challenges was taking time away from Rugby to have my daughter, as I had to work so hard to get back to where I wanted to be.

“Now I’m a mum to a thirteen-year-old, a head coach and I play for Leeds Rhinos and England, so juggling all that can be difficult. Having a smart meter helps me stay in control of my energy bills.”

In the new film available to view here, the England stars highlight how keeping in touch with the people around them has helped show them they weren’t alone and how to manage tough times.

Find out more about the support that energy suppliers can provide and about the benefits of smart meters, as well as watch the campaign video, at www.smartenergygb.org.

Featured Image Credit: Simon Jacobs/PinPep

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