Three quarters of Norwich folk have said they are worse off financially than they were a year ago, a new cost of living survey from this paper has found.

Research by the Evening News also found that 55pc are in some form of debt, and that two thirds (66pc) of households could not afford to pay an unexpected unnecessary expense of £850 or more.

Some 575 people from the city took part in the survey to assess how people in Norfolk and Waveney have been affected by the steep rise in the cost of living.

Norwich Evening News: The Evening News is committed to helping its reading through the cost of living crisisThe Evening News is committed to helping its reading through the cost of living crisis (Image: Archant)

And 74pc of the 574 people surveyed declared that they are poorer now compared to this time last year, with 20 per cent saying their finances stayed the same, and six per cent saying they have improved.

In a bid to curb the effects of the rising cost of living, 333 people said they would save by stopping going out, with a similar amount saying that shutting off the heating and changing general food shopping habits are ways they would try and balance the books.

Almost three quarters (73pc) said that they have seen an increase in their council tax bill, with a staggering 91pc adding that their electricity bills continue to soar.

More than half of respondents, 319 people, said that they had noticed an increase in water bill costs.

And 71pc said that they have been impacted by rising fuel costs as prices hit an all-time high.

The survey also found that:

  • Almost half (48pc) would stop buying 'micro treats'
  • 168 people, or 29pc, have decided not to take a holiday this year
  • And 18pc (101 people) have said they will make more modest holiday plans
  • One in every 20 people have had to take on a second job
  • More than a third (39pc) have started shopping at budget supermarkets that didn't before
  • Almost a third (31pc) have turned to selling possessions

Almost all respondents, 538 of the 574, said that they have seen an increase in costs when it comes to food shopping.

Hannah Worsley, Norwich Food Bank project manager said that they have seen a slight decrease in demand for their service - but that's only because there's a variety of aid organisations across the city.

"There is still a stigma around using food banks," she explained.

"We need to be absolutely certain that there is wrap-around support available for those in need.

"The Trussell Trust scheme is all about making sure you get deeper help as to why you're in that position in the first place.

"Whether it's a benefit check, help with getting into work, with help or housing. Services have to work together.

"We know that our user statistics don't show the whole picture. Now, we're part of a puzzle with lots of churches and charities - and even schools are doing their own thing as well.

"Demand hasn't gone down, there's just more provision."

Mile Cross county councillor Chrissie Rumsby, who volunteers at a foodbank at the Phoenix Hub in Mile Cross Road, said that she is devastated that hardworking people can't make ends meet.

She said: "You wonder where this all will end.

"At some point our money could dry up. How do we help these people?

"These are not people who can't budget, there's no budget to start with because of the cost of living.

"It's devastating. We're the sixth-richest country in the world, this shouldn't be happening.

"It's got so out of hand because of the rising cost of living. I just wonder what we can do for the best?

"We have Aldi and Lidl - which are cheaper to buy from - but we feel utterly helpless in this situation.

"I get messages at 10pm with people asking for food parcels. I've never experienced anything like it."