Most British adults struggle with bills, watchdog says

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LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Nearly 32 million people, or 60% of all UK adults, are finding it a heavy burden or somewhat of a burden to pay their bills as a cost of living crisis bites, a watchdog said on Friday.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) latest Financial Lives survey said the total was up 6 million from 2020, when the economy went into lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Britons are facing rising food and fuel prices, with inflation now topping 10%, far higher than most pay increases.

The survey said there were 4.2 million people missing domestic bills or credit repayments in three or more of the last six months, up from 3.8 million in 2020.

“One in four UK adults are in financial difficulty or could quickly find themselves in difficulty if they suffered a financial shock,” the watchdog said in a statement.

The survey found that 27% of Black people said they found it a heavy burden to keep up with bills, compared with 15% of all UK adults.

The watchdog said it has already begun reminding banks about how to support customers in financial difficulty, who should contact providers in the first instance to discuss options.

The FCA said its survey is the largest of its kind, with more than 19,000 people interviewed between February and June this year.

(Reporting by Huw Jones;Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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