Cost of living latest: Half of young people fear they will not be able to afford children; millions cancel TV subscriptions (2023)

Key points
  • Half of young people fear they'll never be able to afford a family
  • Firefighters vote to strike for first time in 20 years
  • Biggest day of walkouts in a decade this week
  • Money saving hacks:How to haggle for the best broadband | Saving money on pets| How to ask for a pay rise
  • Live reporting by Megan Baynes, cost of living reporter

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Good night

That's all from us for today.

Join us again tomorrow when we will be bringing you the latest on the cost of living crisis in the UK.


Streaming subscriptions fell last year - but which shows are the most popular?

The number of subscriptions to TV streaming services in Britain fell by two million during 2022 as the cost of living crisis hit households (see 11.42am post).

But a number of streaming shows helped keep services popular.

Three of the five most popular shows on streaming services were on Netflix with the others on rival platforms Disney+ and Now TV.

Many people took out new subscriptions in the run-up to Christmas last year but the figures show the pace slowed: 5% of households in Britain signed up to a new streaming subscription during the final quarter of the year, down from 6% a year earlier.

The five most popular streaming shows that helped fight the fall in subscriptions were:

  1. Wednesday - Netflix
  2. The Crown - Netflix
  3. Harry & Meghan - Netflix
  4. The White Lotus - NowTV
  5. Andor - Disney+


Firefighters and control room staff to strike

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) voted for action in a ballot that closed on Monday - resulting in the UK's first nationwide fire service strike over pay since 2003.

Firefighters overwhelmingly backed strike action, with 88% voting yes on a 73% turnout.

The FBU said it has given the government and employers 10 days to to come up with an improved offer which could be put to a vote of members in an effort to avoid strikes.

Firefighters have experienced a 12% drop in real-terms earnings since 2010, the union says, while around one in five firefighter jobs have been cut in the same period.

It comes after members rejected a below-inflation 5% payoff in November.

The announcement also comes minutes after it was announced talks have failed to prevent the biggest teachers' strike in years.

Last-minute talks were held by Education Secretary Gillian Keegan on Monday in a bid to resolve a teachers' pay dispute ahead of planned strikes this week.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) in England and Wales will now walk out on Wednesday, with more industrial action planned in the following weeks.


Paperchase on brink of collapse as hopes of solvent rescue fade

Paperchase, the high street stationery retailer, is close to collapsing into administration as hopes of a solvent rescue deal fade.

Sky News understands the chain's parent company could appoint insolvency practitioners from Begbies Traynor as soon as Tuesday.

Paperchase's shareholders remain in discussions with more than one potential buyer, although insiders said that a sale of the business was now focused on a pre-pack deal, which involves a company's assets being sold immediately after it has fallen into administration.

It is unclear how many jobs or stores would be put at risk by an insolvency.

The latest development follows weeks of talks with prospective buyers after PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed to find new backers.

Read the full story from City editor Mark Kleinman here...


Got a question on your consumer rights? Facing a financial dilemma? Ask our experts

Whether you're in a consumer-related dispute, have a financial dilemma or simply need advice during the cost of living crisis, our question form is now open above.

Sky News cost of living reporter Megan Baynes will pick a selection to answer.


Fifth of adults eat food past its use-by date

One in five UK adults has resorted to eating food past its use-by date, or smaller portions, as inflation keeps the cost of groceries high.

Data from the Office for National Statistics looked at how increases in the cost of living and difficulty accessing NHS services affected people's lives during the autumn and winter months.

It found adults reporting moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms, those with diabetes, and those with children were found to be more likely to be eating smaller portions or food past its use-by date.

The European Food Information Council advises that food should not be eaten past its use-by date, but you "can eat food past its best-before date if it looks, smells and tastes fine".

The report also looked and wait times for treatment on the NHS - and the impact this was having.

Around one in five (21%) adults reported they were waiting for a hospital appointment, test, or to start receiving medical treatment through the health service, while some 48% of people with depressive symptoms and 37% of those with a disability said it was having a strong negative impact on their lives.


Help for savers with multiple pension pots

Plans to help savers with multiple pension pots are under consideration by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

With the average worker having around 11 jobs over the course of their career, some may end up with multiple small pension pots.

This creates a risk of people losing track of their savings as well as the admin costs and inefficiencies created for pension providers of maintaining them.

A call for evidence on small pension pots has been launched by the DWP, applying to England, Scotland and Wales, and will run until 27 March 2023.

It looks at the potential scope for the automatic consolidation of some pots, as well as recognising the impact of other actions, including enabling more member engagement, that could help.

Two options which would automatically bring more pensions together include a default consolidator, where small pots would automatically be transferred into a scheme; and "pot follows member", where a pension pot would follow an employee when they move jobs and automatically move with them to their new employer's scheme.


Wednesday will be the biggest day of strikes in a decade

A strike by up to half-a-million workers in bitter disputes over pay, jobs and conditions will take place this week.

Teachers, train drivers, civil servants, university lecturers, bus drivers and security guards from seven trade unions will walk out on Wednesday in what will be the biggest day of industrial action in more than a decade.

Protests will be held across the country on the same day against the government’s controversial plans for a new law on minimum service levels during strikes.

Unions have nicknamed it the "anti-strike bill", saying it could lead to workers who vote legally to strike being sacked.

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said Wednesday will be a "really important day" for workers and the public to show support for those taking action to defend pay, jobs and services, as well as for the right to strike.


Britons cancelled 2m TV subscriptions last year

Britons cancelled two million streaming services last year as the country grappled with the cost of living crisis.

The total number of subscriptions fell from 30.54m at the end 2021 to 28.46m at the end of 2022, according to data from Kantar.

The total number of video streaming services being subscribed to by British households rose by more than 300,00 in the final quarter of the year, with Prime Video, AppleTV+ and Paramount+ driving the major gains.

Despite a boost from viewers flocking to watch Harry and Meghan's documentary, as well as The Crown, on Netflix almost 900,000 families gave up at least one paid-for subscription.

It comes as the streaming giant looks to launch a cheaper ad-supported tier, in a bid to stem the loss of more than one million subscribers in 2022.


Almost half of young people fear they'll never earn enough to start a family

Young people are struggling more with the cost of living crisis than the COVID pandemic, a new report has found.

Nearly half of all 16 to 25-year-olds in the UK also fear they will never earn enough to support a family amid the cost of living crisis and looming recession.

The study by Prince’s Trust NatWest Youth Index 2023, based on YouGov research, found the overall wellbeing of 16 to 25-year-olds in the UK has flatlined, remaining at the lowest point in its 14-year history.

The report reveals 57% of young people said the cost of living crisis is their biggest worry for the future, while 34% said the coming recession is their greatest concern.

Some 46% overall said economic uncertainty makes them feel hopeless about the future, rising to 55% for those from poorer backgrounds.

Nearly half, 45%, worry they will never earn enough to support a family, rising to 53% for those from less affluent backgrounds.

Young people’s happiness and confidence with money is now lower than when polling began in 2008 during the global financial crisis, the charity said.

The data is from an online YouGov poll of 2,025 16 to 25-year-olds in the UK, carried out between 22 November and 7 December.

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