Millions of Britons would find it hard or impossible to cover an extra £20 in monthly expenditure

More than a third of adults in the UK would find it difficult or impossible to cover a £20 increase in their monthly expenditure, according to new research.

Citizens Advice commissioned a survey of 2,000 adults between 5 and 9 December and found that one in four would find it somewhat difficult to cover the increase, 7% would find it very difficult and 4% would find it impossible.

Also among those who would find the extra cost difficult or impossible were 58% of those on benefits, 57% of those using pre-payment meters for their energy supply, and 47% of people of colour.

Citizens Advice chief executive Dame Clare Moriarty said: "Millions of households are at financial breaking point: running down savings, going without bare essentials and turning to food banks to get by.

"We're already seeing record numbers of people coming to us for crisis support and this research shows people simply cannot cut back any further.

"Current government support is a sticking plaster which is quickly being exhausted due to the increased pressures people are facing.

"Without further targeted intervention, we risk another year of despair for millions of people."

The survey also found that a third of people have had to dip into their savings in the last three months to get by, and more than half of them had either run out of savings or expect to do so in the next three months.

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Britain is witnessing the worst squeeze on incomes in a generation, as struggling households are hit by soaring energy costs and rocketing inflation.

Citizens Advice said it helped a record number of people in December, assisting them in getting emergency grants and referring them to food banks.

Almost three in 10 of those surveyed said they are losing sleep at least once a week because they are worried about their finances.