This research was undertaken to better understand the impact of cost of living rises on consumers of community services. Specifically, the research sought to understand:
- What was the impact on the lives of Uniting consumers, if any, of the rising cost of living?
- What are the current needs of consumers?
- What would make the biggest positive difference to the lives of consumers now?
The data is based on a diverse cohort of 112 consumers including people on income support, as well as people working full-time, parents, carers and retirees.
- 92% of respondents were cutting back on food and groceries due to costs
- 70% were unable to eat well
- Parents, carers and people with a disability were skipping meals even if cooking for others
- Two thirds reported pressure from the rising cost of energy bills
- Half of respondents were cutting back on heating
- One in two were experiencing mental health impacts resulting from cost of living increases
- Half of respondents reported impacts on their housing situation with Tasmanians 25% more likely to report impacts on their housing situation
- Women were more frequently experiencing cost pressures and were more negatively impacted across life areas than men
- 11% felt more at risk of family violence as a result of rising costs of living.
This research provides evidence that the rising cost of living is deepening financial, housing and food insecurity, and impacting mental and physical health, while also increasing social isolation.