Winter crisis in summer: Citizens Advice reveals latest insights as cost-of-living pressures pile on

  • Dame Clare Moriarty: “The charts are going in the wrong direction”

Citizens Advice has today launched an interactive dashboard which shows the unfolding cost-of-living crisis and its real-time impact on people seeking the charity’s support.

The latest data deep-dive reveals a series of worrying trends, including a summer peak to issues traditionally seen in winter and rocketing demand for crisis support.

Three key findings from Citizens Advice:

1. Crisis support continues to grow at record-breaking levels

By the end of this month Citizens Advice will have supported over 120,000 people with access to food banks and other charitable support, more than numbers seen in 2019 and 2020 combined. 

Based on the charity’s projections, by the end of 2022 it is likely to have supported 57% more people than last year with access to crisis support.

2. The number of people unable to top up their prepayment meter is at an all-time high despite the warmer weather

Citizens Advice is supporting more people unable to top up their prepayment meter this June than it did in January. In fact, this issue is at record levels.

Meanwhile energy debts are on the rise. So far this year the charity has helped more than 47,600 people with energy debts. The average person the charity has supported via a debt assessment is more than £650 in arrears to their energy company.

3. Disabled people are among those being hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis

Demographic insights in Citizens Advice dashboard show that disabled people are among those most likely to be seeking support on cost-of-living issues, including for problems like debt, housing and energy bills.

Nearly 45,000 disabled people have contacted Citizens Advice in June for help with these types of problems - exceeding the number who came for non cost-of-living related advice.

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Our data paints a picture of the stark choices facing families everywhere as the cost-of-living crisis bites. 

“Most worrying is that issues we’d typically see in winter - like people unable to top up their prepayment meter - are peaking in the height of summer.

“It’s clear our charts are only going in the wrong direction. The government did the right thing by bringing in support through the benefits system to help people struggling the most. It must now be ready to act again before winter sets in.”

Notes to editors

  1. Figures for crisis support represent the number of people Citizens Advice helps with either referrals to food banks’ or other charitable support. Other charitable support includes any emergency financial support or support in kind people need to make ends meet. From the start of the year up until 22.07.22. Citizens Advice helped 122,529 people with crisis support, compared to a total of 83,188 at the end of July last year. 2022 projection calculated by using the average monthly increase for the previous 6 months of 2022 (Jan-Jun 2022).

  2. From January to the end of June 2022, Citizens Advice helped 280,251 disabled people with cost-of-living related issues, and 249,954 disabled people with non cost-of-living related issues. In June 2022 Citizens Advice helped 44,584 disabled people with cost-of-living related issues, and 40,375 people with non cost-of-living related issues.

  3. In June 2022 Citizens Advice spoke to 2,232 people who were unable to top up their prepayment meter. In January Citizens Advice supported 1,540 people unable to top up their prepayment meter. These figures combine data from Citizens Advice’s Consumer Service and its overall advice trends.

  4. Citizens Advice includes the national charity; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.

  5. Citizens Advice is the statutory consumer advocate for energy and post. We provide supplier performance information to consumers and policy analysis to decision makers.

  6. The Citizens Advice Witness Service provides free, independent support for prosecution and defence witnesses in every criminal court in England and Wales.

  7. Citizens Advice offers Pension Wise services at 500 locations in England and Wales.

  8. Citizens Advice’s services are free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to all regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.

  9. To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice, visit

  10. For consumer advice, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 to talk in Welsh.

  11. We helped 2.6 million people face to face, by phone, email and webchat in 2017-18. For service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.

  12. Citizens Advice staff are supported by over 23,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 locations in England and Wales.