12/01/2012 04:00 GMT

Pay Freezes Scare British Workers Into Thrifty Spending

Pay freezes have struck two of three workers in recent years, with the fifth of the nation's employed are thinking about taking a second job or increasing their working hours.

Some workers have had no wage rise for at least three years, despite rising inflation. The situation is expected to continue as only one in three are expecting a pay rise in 2012.

It's worrying news for companies that rely consumerism as the survey of more than 1,000 adults by price comparison service uSwitch showed that more than half said they will have to "severely rein in" their spending

Those believing they will get a rise predicted it would average only 2.1%, well below the rate of inflation. Lower salaries are not without their cost: many Brits are worried about their finances.

Three out of four of those questioned said they were worried about the rising cost of living, including higher household bills.

Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at, said: "After a difficult 2011 which saw the cost of living rocket, savings rates stuck at rock bottom and pay frozen, Brits are preparing themselves for another tough year.

"While the cost of living continues to rise, pay isn't keeping up, which means that workers are seeing their disposable income drain away. Further pay freezes in 2012 could push many consumers over the edge.

"In the face of another tough year, those who plan to severely rein in their spending have hit the nail on the head - this year more than ever people will have to watch their spending and cut back where they can.

"Consumers can give themselves a pay rise by shopping around for the best deals on their household bills - which could save you over £1,800."

Around one in six of those surveyed said they had received no wage increase for at least three years.