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Over half of Belgians are worried about their purchasing power
Over half (55%) of Belgians are worried about their declining purchasing power, according to a large-scale survey conducted by various Belgian media outlets.
While Belgians are overall less concerned about their energy bill than they were in the spring, they’re cutting back on their leisure spending amid a decline in purchasing power that’s spurred by record levels of inflation reflected not least of all in grocery stores.
The fact that every euro earned is worth less and less due to other costs rising is one of the primary reasons for a large-scale demonstration in Brussels on Monday. That demonstration and its accompanying strikes are expected to cause massive disruption in the transit sector.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators are joining in the protest, which is organised by Belgium’s major trade unions.
Respondents to the ‘Barometer’ survey listed their primary worry as the decline in purchasing power due to inflation and rising prices (55%), followed by taxes (31%), poverty and social inequality (29%) and climate change (22%).
There was scant optimism among respondents, too: 47% believe their current financial situation has worsened over the past six months, with that feeling more pronounced among Walloons and Brussels residents (51%) than people living in Flanders (45%).
Four out of 10 Belgians say that making ends meet is “quite difficult,” a feeling that’s growing in all three regions of the country, but again in Wallonia (46%) and Brussels (42%) more so than in Flanders (36%).
The erosion of purchasing power is largely accelerating due to rising energy prices, an issue exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine.
In order to deal with inflation and surging fuel prices, 56% of Belgians say they’re now postponing major purposes, cutting back on leisure activities (55%), using their car less and driving slower to consume less fuel (54%).
The survey was conducted online from 6 to 14 June and collected responses from 2,552 people, forming representative samples of residents aged 18 and over at a rate of 1,008 in Wallonia, 1,008 in Flanders and 536 in the 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region.
Photo: © Belga/Eric Lalmand