In yet another predictable move by the UK government, the cost of living is set to soar- threatening the poorest of society. National insurance, rent, council tax, energy prices, food prices, fuel prices, road tax and car insurance are all increasing. But Boris said that we’re getting a 59p national living wage rise- a 6.6.% increase. That means we’ll be able to afford to live, right?
Well, let us break things down a bit, and we’ll use the UK as an example. From April 2022, National Insurance will increase by 1.25% for individuals. Rent has increased by an average of 8.6% from last year. In my county, council tax is set to increase by 2.99% this April. Households are facing a painful blow, in the form of an energy hike- despite the Prime Minister promising us that it wouldn’t happen. The energy price cap will increase by £693 in April 2022. But don’t worry, you’ll get a non-voluntary rebate of £200 in October. The price of food and drink means that even the cheapest items are expensive for the poorest of society, rising by 4.5% in the last year. In January 2022, Jack Monroe wrote an article in the guardian expressing how much food prices had increased – especially for the poor. According to her pricelist, shops’ value food and drink had risen more than things like M&S meal deals (luxury goods/items).
Admittedly, some of the previously mentioned examples could be seen as more ‘luxury goods’. Even still the fact remains: the cost of living has risen to a dangerous level.
What is the government doing to combat this?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is not budging with the decision to raise NI- despite calls to scrap it. However, there has been a recent announcement that fuel duty will be reduced by 5p, and there is no VAT for five years on energy-saving measures. He has also allocated £500 million to the Household Support Fund, designed to help vulnerable households with rising living costs.
Can we survive this?
Even money-saving guru Martin Lewis has spoken out. Telling viewers that he “has no more tools to help”, on BBC One’s Sunday Morning. However, many are happy to ignore the problem and how it will target and doom millions of lower and working class families.
What does this mean for us?
Boris Johnson is expecting the working class to pay the bill for the country and demand that they be grateful for the very generous increase in pay. This token is nothing but yet another war on the poor, under the guise of a lucrative pay rise. This will mean that millions of families could be worse off than before the pay rise.
Living has gone wrong, and it is only now that we are starting to see the cracks grow too big to cover over with a blob of paint.
As someone who has grown up worrying if we will have enough money to afford food, I find it astounding that the government is allowing yet another attack on the poorest of society and expecting them to make do. So many families and individuals will suffer as a consequence of so many hikes in living costs. Food banks are already at a breaking point, and the councils are very selective about who they help with homelessness. As the working class, we are dangerously close to being the people we used to look at and wonder why they could not manage their bills better.
We work ourselves to the bone. And all for the hope that we can keep ourselves teetering on the right side of poverty. Every penny we earn goes towards living. As evidence has shown, even the savviest saver cannot bargain their way out of this living crisis that we are facing. We are screwed unless the government intervenes and stops this madness that they have created. Money is finite, and that is even more apparent for the working and lower classes of society will inevitably suffer because of this egregious attack by the government.