Cost of living crisis: the areas of Greater Manchester most at risk from spiralling bills

One Manchester constituency is among the 10 hardest-hit in the UK when it comes to challenges from the soaring cost of living, figures show.

Households have been feeling the pinch due to the current cost of living crisis - and data has now revealed the areas in Greater Manchester least able to withstand the financial shock of spiralling bills.

New research is showing where families and individuals will be least able to bear the surge in prices.

The Financial Vulnerability Index (FVI) also shows that Greater Manchester will be on the front line of the economic squeeze, with a Manchester constituency in the top 10 in the UK for areas most at risk.

The top of the index is dominated by constituencies in largely urban areas across the north of England and the Midlands and the researchers suggested many of them had not benefitted from any post-Covid uptick in the economy.

We’ve rounded up the top 10 Greater Manchester constituencies and looked at just how much financial risk residents there will face.

Not all homes have smart meters (image: AFP/Getty Images)Not all homes have smart meters (image: AFP/Getty Images)
Not all homes have smart meters (image: AFP/Getty Images)

Which are the 10 highest-placed constituencies in Greater Manchester on the Financial Vulnerability Index (FVI)?

The Greater Manchester constituency in the most perilous position to face steeply-rising costs is Blackley and Broughton.

It scored 63.4 on the FVI index (the average for the UK is 45.1).

This was the seventh-highest score on the index of any constituency in Greater Manchester.


The next nine constituencies on the index in the city-region were:

Manchester Gorton (59.9),

Wythenshawe and Sale East (59.4),

Oldham West and Royton (58.8),

Bolton South East (58.7),

Rochdale (58.3),

Bolton North East (57.9),

Ashton under Lyne (57.7),

Worsley and Eccles South (57.6),

Oldham East and Saddleworth (57.6).

How does the Financial Vulnerability Index?

The study looking at which constituencies will most struggle to cope with the cost of living crisis has been done by debt collection company Lowell and the US-based Urban Institute think-tank.

The Financial Vulnerability Index scores an area from one to 100, with higher numbers signifying greater financial vulnerability.

It combines analysis of Lowell’s 9.5 million customer accounts with official statistics from the UK Government and Office for National Statistics.

It is based on six components that capture a household’s ability to manage daily finances and resist economic shocks: carrying debt in default, using alternative financial products such as payday loans, claiming work-related benefits, lacking emergency savings, holding a high-cost loan and relying heavily on credit.

What have researchers said about the index?

The researchers said people in the most vulnerable areas are still grappling with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, despite the recovery seen elsewhere.

“Many constituencies in these cities saw high levels of vulnerability before the pandemic, something that was exacerbated by successive lockdowns,” the study said.

“These areas have become ‘scar tissue’, immune to the general upswing in the economy seen as the pandemic ebbed.”

John Pears, UK CEO of Lowell, said: “Right now, everyone’s talking about the increased cost of living, but the impact won’t be the same everywhere.

“There are lots of communities that still aren’t back to how they were before the pandemic and they are being hit again.

“With rising energy and food prices, we hope that these areas get the support they need, or the Government run the risk of levelling down in some of our biggest cities.”

Signe-Mary McKernan, vice president for labour, human services and population at the Urban Institute, said: “While the United Kingdom overall experienced improvement in financial vulnerability, gaps remained in several regions, and high financial vulnerability persisted.

“As policymakers look to guide recovery, supporting the financial health of residents can help families cope with inflation and stabilise communities.”

What else has been said about the index?

The MP for Greater Manchester’s most vulnerable constituency claimed the Government was “complacent” about the sheer level of hardship some residents are facing.

Graham Stringer, who represents Blackley and Broughton, said: “I am not surprised that Blackley and Broughton is high on the vulnerability index. One of the wards in the constituency, Harpurhey, often comes out as the most deprived ward in the country.

“The Government is being complacent and is simply not doing enough to help those people who will be most affected by the increase in fuel and food prices and the general increase in inflation.

“Utilities companies, through no efforts of their own, are making mega profits and these windfalls should be taxed to help the poorest people.

“The National Insurance increase should also be stopped.

“The Government’s decision to increase national insurance and promise a cut in income tax means they are taking with one hand and giving it away with the other to more affluent people.

“The Chancellor’s spring statement was not something focused on helping those people who simply will not be able to afford to both eat and heat their homes in the coming 12 months.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We understand that people are struggling with the rising cost of living – we can’t shield everyone from these global challenges but are taking action worth over £22 billion this financial year to help.

“We’re increasing national insurance thresholds and cutting the Universal Credit taper rate to help people keep more of what they earn, increasing the national living wage, and providing a £9 billion package of support with energy bills – and we continue to provide loans for those on low incomes to help pay their mortgage interest.”