02/05/2012 15:00:02

A third have had their standards of living reduced by bill hikes

The rising cost of household bills has reduced the standard of living of 29 per cent of the population.

Santander's research reveals that in the past decade, the cost of household bills have risen at almost double the rate of the retail price index over the same period (71 per cent versus 38 per cent).

Salaries have risen from £16,964 in 2001 to £21,093 in 2011, which is an increase of just 24 per cent

As a consequence of relatively static wages and soaring living costs, ten per cent say they would not be able to cope financially if bills were to rise any further in the next year.

Carlos Palacios, banking director at Santander, said: "People have already been forced to make a number of adjustments to their lifestyle to cope with the hikes, and many will struggle to cope with further increases such as the water bill hikes recently announced."

Consumer Focus recently reported that four in ten people say their winter energy bill is even higher than last year, despite the fact it was one of the mildest in recent times.