Cost of living crisis: Areas of Greater Manchester most at risk from spiraling bills

A Manchester constituency is among the 10 hardest hit in the UK when it comes to challenges from the soaring cost of living, figures show.

Households have felt the pinch due to the current cost of living crisis – and data has now revealed the areas of Greater Manchester least able to withstand the financial shock of spiraling bills.

New research shows where families and individuals will be least able to withstand soaring prices.

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The top of the index is dominated by constituencies in largely urban areas of northern England and the Midlands and researchers have suggested that many of them have not benefited from any post-Covid economic recovery.

We’ve rounded up the 10 main constituencies in Greater Manchester and looked at the level of financial risk residents will face.

Not all homes have smart meters (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

Which are the 10 highest ranked constituencies in Greater Manchester on the Financial Vulnerability Index (FVI)?

The Greater Manchester constituency in the most perilous position to deal with soaring costs is Blackley and Broughton.

It scored 63.4 on the FVI index (the UK average is 45.1).

It was the seventh highest index score of any constituency in Greater Manchester.

The next nine constituencies on the index in the city-region were:

Manchester Gorton (59.9),

Wythenshawe and Sale East (59.4),

Oldham West and Royton (58.8),

South East Bolton (58.7),

North East Bolton (57.9),

Ashton under Lyne (57.7),

Worsley and Eccles South (57.6),

Oldham East and Saddleworth (57.6).

How does the Financial Vulnerability Index work?

The study of which constituencies will struggle the most to cope with the cost of living crisis was carried out by debt collection firm Lowell and US think tank Urban Institute.

The Financial Vulnerability Index marks an area from 1 to 100, with higher numbers signifying greater financial vulnerability.

It combines analysis of Lowell’s 9.5 million customer accounts with official statistics from the UK government and the Office for National Statistics.

It is based on six components that capture a household’s ability to manage day-to-day finances and withstand economic shocks: taking on default debt, using alternative financial products such as payday loans, claiming work-related allowances , lack emergency savings, hold a high-cost loan, and rely heavily on credit.

What did the researchers say about the index?

Researchers said people in the most vulnerable areas are still grappling with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the recovery seen elsewhere.

“Many precincts in these cities experienced high levels of vulnerability before the pandemic, which has been exacerbated by successive shutdowns,” the study said.

“These areas have become ‘scar tissue’, sheltered from the general upturn in the economy seen as the pandemic waned.”

John Pears, UK CEO of Lowell, said: “At the moment everyone is talking about the rising cost of living, but the impact will not be the same everywhere.

“There are a lot of communities that still haven’t returned to where they were before the pandemic and they are being affected again.

“With rising energy and food prices, we hope these areas will get the support they need, otherwise the government risks stabilizing in some of our larger cities.”

Signe-Mary McKernan, vice-president for labour, social care and population at the Urban Institute, said: “While the UK has seen an improvement in financial vulnerability overall, gaps remain in several regions. and high financial vulnerability persists.

“As policymakers seek to guide the recovery, supporting residents’ financial health can help families weather inflation and stabilize communities.”

What else has been said about the index?

The MP for Greater Manchester’s most vulnerable constituency has claimed the government is “complacent” about the level of hardship some residents are facing.

Graham Stringer, who represents Blackley and Broughton, said: “I’m not surprised that Blackley and Broughton are high on the vulnerability index. One of the constituency’s wards, Harpurhey, is often seen as the most deprived ward in the country.

“The government is being complacent and simply not doing enough to help the people who will be most affected by rising fuel and food prices and general rising inflation.

“Utility companies, without any effort on their part, make huge profits and these windfall gains should be taxed to help the poorest.

“The increase in national insurance should also be stopped.

“The government’s decision to increase National Insurance and promise an income tax cut means it is taking with one hand and giving it with the other to better-off people.

“The Chancellor’s spring statement was not focused on helping people who simply won’t be able to afford to both eat and heat their homes for the next 12 months.”

A government spokesperson said: ‘We understand that people are struggling with the rising cost of living – we cannot protect everyone from these global challenges, but we are taking action worth more than £22bn this financial year to help.

“We are raising National Insurance thresholds and reducing the Universal Credit sliding scale to help people keep more of what they earn, raising the National Living Wage and providing a £9billion package sterling support for energy bills – and we continue to provide loans for people on low incomes to help them pay their mortgage interest.

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