Midlands hit hardest by rising cost of living

Posted by: Lowell|September 11 2023


  • Financial health gap between the Midlands and the rest of the UK is widening

  • Almost half of the region is falling behind the rest of the UK

  • 10 Midland’s constituencies - covering 700,000 people - are among the hardest hit in the UK

  • Benefits Usage is up 0.4% in the Midlands

LS563 LVI Map

A worsening picture in the Midlands

Areas in Birmingham, Leicester and Coventry became financially worse off this year. New data shows that the Midlands is the region of the UK hit hardest by the rising cost-of-living. Lowell’s latest  Financial Vulnerability Index shows 41% of all areas that became financially worse off this year are in the Midlands region.

While the South continues to be better off than the UK average, and the North sees improvements in its FVI Score, the Midlands finds itself squeezed with many of the worst-performing areas in the latest FVI Index. Some the key indicators are:

  • Financial health in the West Midlands is now 12% worse than the UK average.

  •  The East Midlands is 5.3% worse off having been more financially healthy than the UK average in 2017

The Midlands accounts for over a third of the UK’s financially vulnerable constituencies. Data shows that these constituencies have high numbers of full time workers and families with children. Analysis indicates that ordinary working families are bearing the burden of the high cost-of-living. In areas with higher levels of social housing and benefits usage, the improvements in financial health have been much more significant suggesting that Government support may be outstripping pay in its effect on financial health. 

Commenting on the results Lowell's UK CEO John Pears said:

“Lowell’s latest FVI shows how the Midlands is feeling the squeeze. Households in the Midlands are struggling the most as they borrow to meet the inflated costs of everyday spending. It’s a reverse in fortunes from a few years ago as the gap with the rest of the UK widens. The Midlands is sadly not participating in the cautious recovery the rest of the UK is experiencing.

With the recent news of Birmingham City Council’s declaration of bankruptcy there are likely to be further challenges for those most financially vulnerable who rely on critical services from the Council.”

Full data set, trends report and interactive tool

The Financial Vulnerability Index is an innovative tool to measure and track financial resilience, nationally and locally, across the UK. Created by Lowell and the Urban Institute, and provided by Opinium, the index brings together publicly available measures and Lowell’s proprietary data to give a clear picture of financial vulnerability in the UK.

The Financial Vulnerability Tool is free to access or alternatively you can download the data and a summary of the key findings.

To find out more about our Financial Vulnerability Index you may be interested in the following articles: