Business leaders come together to take action on cost-of-living crisis as research shows that half of adults say that their current financial situation is negatively impacting their mental health
Business in the Community (BITC), The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, has announced a new Cost-of-Living Taskforce, made up of business leaders from a range of companies to take action on the cost-of-living crisis. The taskforce, which is being led by Raman Bhatia, CEO of OVO Energy, comes as research found that five in 10 adults say that their current financial situation is negatively impacting their mental health. 
To help understand the impact that the cost-of-living crisis is having on people, BITC commissioned YouGov to identify what people were worried about over the next six months. The research found that 18% of people in Wales said they would need to rely on community support such as a food bank or warm bank over the next six months, compared to 15% of people living in the North, North East and North West England, 12% in London, 11% in the Midlands, 8% in the East and South of England and 6% of those living in Scotland. 
When asked if people were worried about paying their bills over the next six months, six in 10 adults in Wales (64%) said that they were, compared to five in 10 in England (53%) and Scotland (54%). In the regions, 53% of people living in the North East and North West said that they were worried about paying their bills, compared to 56% in Yorkshire and the Humber, 57% in East Midlands, 48% in West Midlands, 54% in East of England, 49% in London, 51% in South East and 56% in South West. 
This research comes as BITC launches a Cost-of-Living Taskforce, made up of businesses that are working together to support employees and customers at this time. The taskforce includes business leaders from a range of companies such as AXA, bp, Capita, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Financial Services Compensation Scheme, GroupM (representing WPP), and TSB and led by Raman Bhatia, Chief Executive Officer, OVO Energy.
Over the next 12 months, the taskforce will help with amplifying BITC’s Cost of Living Action Plan for Businesses with a particular focus on targeting support to lower income and vulnerable customers, engaging with more businesses to take action and sharing best practice across sectors to help businesses respond effectively to the crisis.
Raman Bhatia, Chief Executive Officer of OVO Energy and Chair of BITC’s Cost-of-Living Taskforce said:
“Businesses have a responsibility to ensure that they are doing everything they can to support their people and customers at this time. BITC’s Cost-of-Living Taskforce provides an opportunity for businesses to have a greater impact with a collective response to the cost-of-living crisis. I’m delighted to be leading this taskforce and look forward to working with business leaders to ensure that the private sector’s response to this crisis supports those who need it most.”
Mary Macleod, Chief Executive of Business in the Community, said:
“The cost-of-living crisis is understandably causing worry and distress for millions of people across the UK. While this is also a very difficult time for many businesses, 30 million people in the UK are employees, so the more employers who take action today, the better impact it will have. I’m delighted that business leaders have urgently united in this taskforce to work together with collective and cross-sector action to support our local communities during this difficult time.”
Notes to editor
- Read BITC’s Cost of Living Action Plan for Businesses here.
- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,019 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th – 7th October 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
About Business in the Community
Business in the Community (BITC) and our network of business members are leading a movement to create a fair and sustainable world in which to live in work. Formed in 1982, and with His Majesty King Charles III as our Royal Founding Patron, we are the largest and longest-established membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We work and campaign with more than 600 members to continually grow their responsible business practices, uniting our efforts for greater social and environmental impact in our communities.
OVO was founded in 2009 and redesigned the energy experience to be fair, effortless, green and simple for all customers. OVO was awarded Company of the Decade at the BusinessGreen Leaders’ Awards and has won multiple awards, including Innovation Project of the Year, for investing in the market leading technology, customer service operations and digital products to help customers cut their carbon emissions. OVO is on a mission through its sustainability strategy Plan Zero to tackle the most important issue of our time; the climate crisis, by bringing our customers with us on the journey towards zero carbon living. OVO Energy has committed to being a net zero carbon business and achieve bold science-based carbon reduction targets, while helping customers reduce their household emissions at the same time.