Cost of living survey shows members’ struggles

Our survey into the cost-of-living crisis shows how thousands of members are hard-hit and why tackling it must the top priority for the government.

More than 12,000 people responded to the survey, which asked members how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting on their ability to live day to day.

With inflation at a 40-year high, we know many PCS members are struggling as prices rocket. Wages have not kept pace with inflation for decades.

Stark findings

The results of the survey are stark. 

  • 85% of members say the cost-of-living crisis has affected their physical or mental health.
  • 52% of members have worried about losing their home as bills and inflation rocket.
  • 40% of members have said they have had to use credit to pay for essential shopping
  • 37% of survey respondents said they are looking for a job outside the civil service, considering a career change for the good of their health.
  • 35% say they have skipped meals because they had no food
  • 18% of members have admitted to missing work because they can’t afford transport or fuel to get there.
  • 9% have claimed benefits because of low pay
  • 8% said they have used a foodbank.

We also asked members what impact would the increase in the cost of energy likely have on them this winter?

18% of respondents there is no choice but to cut back on all but the essentials

17% say they will only have the heating on when necessary

13% said they are worried they won’t be able to pay their bills and an alarming 

11% said they won't have the heating on at all this winter

11% said the huge rise in bills will cause them a considerable financial impact.

For our members in the civil service, the situation has worsened in recent years. Pay restraint over the last decade alone means members are missing out on at least £2,800 a year. Civil servants were offered a miserly 2% earlier in the year which PCS rejected with inflation at over 9% and having made a pay claim of 10%.

Tell us your experience of the cost-of-living crisis, email

We are running a national strike ballot over pay, pensions, jobs and redundancy terms beginning on 26 September and running for 6 weeks.

It is crucial all members in the civil service and related areas get ready for that ballot by logging into PCS Digital and updating the personal details we hold for you.

You can only vote in this national postal ballot if you have given us a personal postal address.