UK energy users under the age of 30 are the most likely to struggle with the rising cost of energy, new research from Birmingham Midshires' Saving Britain campaign reveals.

According to the bank’s study, during the third quarter of 2006, almost a third of under-30s (31%) were forced to raid their savings in order to meet the payments of unexpected bills.

Meanwhile, just 22% of over-50s raided savings to pay for unexpected bills in the quarter and one in four (26%) people aged between 30 and 50 years old dipped into savings.

Women are apparently less prepared than men for unexpected bills (26% needed to raid their savings, compared with 24% of men in Q3).

Across the regions, Londoners may be the least prepared for unexpected bills over winter. Almost one in three (31%) Londoners had no choice but to use their savings to pay for bills throughout the third quarter of 2006. They were followed closely by 30% of unprepared Scots. In contrast, Northerners proved a shining example with just one in five (21%) relying on savings to cover unexpected bills.