Consumer Experiences of the Cost-of-Living Crisis

Thomas Anker, Kathy Hamilton, John Landels, Nadia Zainuddin, Roos Schyns, Karyna Sorochynska

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


The cost-of-living crisis is a fundamental challenge to Scottish society, both in terms of personal health and well-being, and social cohesion. The crisis brings to the fore structural problems in Scotland and similar countries, building on a combination of neoliberal market economy and state-funded support mechanisms.

Millions of families in Scotland and across the UK live on disposable incomes that cannot cover the cost of rising food and energy bills. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation1 have recently documented the persistence of the crisis for low-income families with millions continuing to go without essentials, and destitution in the UK more than doubling since 2017. Although the crisis has been most severe for low-income families particularly those living on universal credit, it has also impacted the working-poor for whom full-time employment is insufficient to cover the cost of living. As such, the cost-of-living crisis indicates deep flaws in contemporary society.

A viable solution will have to address the root causes and, thereby, requires substantive political intervention and, some might argue, systemic change. However, until such solutions are designed and implemented, consumers are largely left to their own devices.

This report discusses how consumers from various backgrounds across Scotland have experienced the cost-of-living crisis. Giving voice and perspective to the lived experience of the cost-of-living crisis is important: it gives concrete insights into the personal, emotional and psychological reality of poverty; it reveals the potential and limitation of consumer coping and resilience; and it offers a sense of hope that if we are willing to overcome entrenched ideologies and work across various stakeholder priorities, real change is possible.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherScottish Universities Insight Institute
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2023


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