Nine in 10 Italians cutting spending as figures show extent of cost of living crisis across Europe

In Italy, 41% say they have always or often struggled to pay their energy bills in the last three months. Credit: AP

Soaring food prices, huge energy bills and dissatisfaction with those in power are not just issues affecting the UK.

The cost of living crisis is being felt by people across Western Europe, with Italians hit hardest of all, research from YovGov found.

Governments across the continent are taking very different approaches to try and tackle the mounting problem, with some intervening more than others.

But none of the seven countries in YouGov's European cost of living tracker found the public in Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Denmark entirely content with how their governments are approaching the problem, with many already making substantial cuts to their spending.

Just how bad is the cost of living across Europe and how does the UK compare to its neighbours?

Nine in 10 Italians have made spending cuts and expect to make more in time. Credit: AP

Most Europeans are dissatisfied with their governments’ handling of the cost of living

While the UK has been directly hit by the consequences of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng's mini-budget, few Western Europeans are happy with how their government is handling of the crisis.

Those in the UK and Italy are the most discontent with how their government has reacted to the cost of living.

Credit: YouGov

In Italy, 82% are dissatisfied with how their government has so far handled the situation with many keen to see how Giorgio Meloni’s new government will address the issue. Ms Meloni's far-right coalition stormed to victory in elections in September but have so far been quiet on the economic impact on people's pockets.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Ms Truss’s attempts to deal with the situation are proving hugely unpopular, with eight in ten Britons - and seven in ten Conservative voters - saying the government is doing a bad job of managing the cost of living

But they are by no means the only ones - across all countries polled ,at least six in 10 say the government is doing badly.

In France, where people are arguably currently better protected against the rising cost of energy bills thanks to the government forcing state-owned energy provider EDF to cap price rises at 4% for a year - 72% are not pleased with how those in Paris are reacting.

Credit: YouGov

The Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez unveiled €3 billion in subsidies to help people weather high gas and electricity prices exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, perhaps in response to 74% of Spaniards who did not rate the government's interventions.

There is slightly more satisfaction with the government’s approach to the rising cost of living in the Nordics, but it's not all rosy: just a quarter (27%) of Danes and Swedes say the government is doing a good job.

Majority of Europeans surveyed have had to cut their household spending

The majority of adults polled across all seven countries say they are feeling the pinch as prices soar above wage rises. Many say they have already had to make cuts to their usual spending - and are likely to make more.

More than nine in 10 (69%) of Italians say they have already scaled back their spending - more than any other of those polled.

And most of those who have made cuts already expect that they will need to make further reductions in the future. Across Western Europe, no fewer than 80% of people have either made cuts or believe they will have to do so, and in Italy that rises to 93%.

A quarter (27%) of Danes say the government is doing a good job. Credit: AP

Italians are struggling most with the rising cost of energy bills

Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has put considerable pressure on Russian-energy-dependent European countries, notably Germany, and people's bills have risen alarmingly across the continent.

In Italy, where prices are being hit particularly hard, 41% said they always or often struggled to pay their energy bills in the last three months, and a third (32%) saying the same of vehicle fuel costs.

Credit: YouGov

France is less exposed to higher gas, oil or coal prices because the vast majority of its energy comes from nuclear power but that has not fully protected the average French person, with 10% of those asked saying they always struggle to pay their energy bill despite the heavy subsidy.

In Germany, where the government announced this week they were preparing to introduce new proposals that would pay households' and businesses' energy bills in December, 9% said they could never afford their energy bills, compared to 7% in the UK.

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