The number of people unable to cover the cost of essential but unexpected bills rose by 10% between 2007 and 2011, conveying the extent of the havoc the financial crisis has wreaked on UK households.
More than a third of people struggled to find the funds for unexpected bills in 2011, with 36.6% afflicted with this problem compared to 26.6% in 2007.
The findings reveal the damage the credit crunch has inflicted on the budgets of cash-strapped Brits.
Millions of people found themselves unable to heat their homes sufficiently, buy a car or pay their mortgage and rent instalments.
Taking into account the string of recent price hikes, the same number of people – or more – could be set to suffer in a similar manner in 2013.
Energy bills have soared following substantial price rises from all big six energy providers, and the cost of rent has followed suit, with the inaccessibility of good mortgage rates trapping people in the rental sector.
The report, compiled by the Office for National Statistics, also found that an annual holiday was a mere pipedream for huge numbers of Brits in 2011.
In 2007, some 21.4% of people could not scrape together the necessary funds to pay for a holiday. This rose to 29.7% in 2011.
The rises meant that those unable to afford items such as a car or holiday, or those suffering from “severe material deprivation”, accounted for 5.1% of the UK population in 2011.
However, when compared with the EU average of 8.7%, this is relatively optimistic.
The report provided another glimmer of good news to lighten the blow: the number of people considered at risk of poverty dropped from 18.7% in 2008 to 16.2% in 2011.