More than a third of Britons would be unable to cope financially with an unexpected bill, while the number of people who can no longer afford an annual holiday has risen steeply in the last four years, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The report entitled 'Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK and EU, 2005-2011' found that although levels of serious deprivation in the UK have "changed little", there has been a marked increase in the percentage of people who are unable to afford basic luxuries.
Up from 27% in 2007, a whopping 37% of people in 2011 said they would be unable to meet an "unexpected, but necessary financial expense" such as a bill or replacing a home appliance.
The number of people who cannot afford an annual holiday has risen from 21% in 2007 to 30% in 2011.
In 2011, just under a quarter of the UK population were considered to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion, equivalent to 14 million people. This puts the UK 13th in Europe's poverty league table, ahead of countries such as Netherlands and Sweden.
The figures are based on European Union Statistics on Living Conditions.