ONE in ten Islanders are having to go without essentials such as food or heating, while over 50% are worried about their financial position, according to a new survey.
Island Global Research asked residents in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man about the cost-of-living issues they faced, and found that while rising prices were affecting all three Crown Dependencies, people in Jersey were struggling more than in the other two islands.
Forty per cent of Jersey residents who were surveyed reported that they would struggle to afford a £100 per month increase in living expenses and 14% said they could not afford an unexpected expense of £100.
More than half (55%) said they had found it difficult to meet living costs in the past year and 82% said they expected their financial position to worsen in the next 12 months. This compared with 79% of Guernsey respondents saying they expected their financial position to worsen and 49% saying they struggled over the past year.
Jersey Consumer Council chair Carl Walker said the figures needed to act as a ‘wake-up call’ for the next government to address the cost of living crisis.
He said: ‘The fact that anybody has to go without essentials in Jersey is a huge concern – let alone more than 10% of our population. It is not right that people are struggling to this extent.
‘The report doesn’t make pretty reading at all and I hope that the incoming government will take a good look at the findings from a credible, independent source and come up with a package of measures to support Islanders.
‘I would hope that the Consumer Council is invited to the table to help formulate a plan that is going to help Islanders get through these difficult times. We are ready and willing to do whatever we can.’
Beyond personal situations, Islanders also expressed concerns about societal poverty and widening inequality. Two-thirds of those surveyed in Jersey said they were concerned about poverty now and 64% thought inequality in living standards would grow in the future.
Mr Walker added that he expected further prices rises, particularly in food, before the end of the year.
‘Prices are going to keep climbing and we may see new peaks by the time we get to October and that is worrying. Island suppliers are still using supplies and stockpiles but all that is due to expire at the end of summer.’
In a statement, IGR, which surveyed almost 4,000 households, said: ‘We found it striking that across the three islands, half of people categorised themselves as less than comfortable, including 8% who say they cannot usually afford their [living] costs, and often have to go without essentials like food and heating.
‘Those less able to afford their costs appear to include a greater proportion of under-40s, families with children, and women. However, we plan to do further analysis to understand where there are statistically significant differences between different demographic groups, which we will release in due course.’
Of the three jurisdictions, people in the Isle of Man were least likely to have found it difficult over the past year (47%), compared to 49% in Guernsey and 55% in Jersey.
But the Manx expressed the most concern about their financial situation in the next 12 months with 84% expecting it to worsen against 82% in Jersey and 79% in Guernsey.
Jersey residents expressed the most concern about widening inequality, with 64% saying they expect it to worsen over the next year compared to 54% of Guernsey respondents and 52% in the Isle of Man.
Guernsey had the highest percentage of respondents who felt ‘very comfortable’ or ‘relatively comfortable’ in their standard of living (54%) against 47% of respondents in Jersey.
The figures (JSY/GSY/IM in %)
– Cannot afford costs and often have to go without essentials 11%, 6%, 7%
– Would struggle to afford a 100 per month increase in living expenses 40%, 35%, 37%
– Found it difficult to meet living costs in the last 12 months 55%, 49%, 47%
– Expect financial position of household to worsen in next 12 months 82%, 79%, 84%
– Concerned about poverty and inequality today 67%, 52%, 52%
– Think inequality in living standards will get bigger 64%, 54%, 52%