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New research from Santander suggests that one in ten adults couldn’t cope financially if their bills were to rise any more over the next year. They could be forced into debt, just to get by.

An Opinium survey for Santander of 3,050 UK adults online in April 2012, suggests that one in ten people are struggling to keep up with these costs and nearly a third (29%) say rising bills have affected their standard of living.

Household bills are rising much more quickly than inflation in general. While household bills have risen 71% over the last decade, the RPI measure of inflation has only risen by 38% in comparison.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, gas bills are nearly three times as expensive as 10 years ago and electricity has doubled in price, while the average salary has increased from £16,964 in 2001 to £21,093 in 2011, an increase of just 24%.

The rising cost of things we often take for granted is changing how people view the water and energy they consume. Around 85% of British people are changing their habits to reign in the cost of bills, trying everything from using less water (30%) and using less heating (65%) to switching off appliances like the tumble dryer (21%).

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