Search

Cost of living crisis: pressure mounts on the Government to find solutions

Household bills and prices across the country continue to rise as the public is pushed further into the cost of living crisis. With 30-year-high inflation and further forecasted energy hikes this winter, the Government faces a severe challenge to alleviate the squeeze on households.

In line with global trends, many in Britain have faced a steep rise in energy bills particularly gas and fuel prices. The ongoing war in Ukraine, subsequent sanctions against Russia and increased Chinese demand for oil have caused oil prices to skyrocket. The new cap on energy prices set this month has allowed energy firms in the UK to increase household bills by 54 percent whilst petrol prices continue to climb to an average of £1.65 per litre across the UK. Such a steep increase has pushed many to make tough choices on heating their homes and day-to-day life.

The stark rise in energy costs has grown alongside price increases of goods and services across the board, with inflation reaching a 30-year-high of seven percent earlier this month. Rising council tax rates and the impact of Rishi Sunak’s National Insurance tax hike only compounds the problem – leaving many simply unable to afford the cost of living they are faced with. With wages failing to rise in line with the cost of living, trade unions across the country are starting to flex their muscles with strikes.

As the crisis grows with more people being pushed into poverty and the forecast of further price increases this winter, the pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson mounts to alleviate the significant financial impact on households.

The Government’s response

Mr. Johnson has reportedly prepared to meet with his top colleagues to discuss “innovative” ways to tackle the crisis – avoiding policy that relies on increased government spending. However with 30-year-high inflation and the extraordinary prices of energy, the apparition of a golden bullet to alleviate cost of living without significant financial aid is unrealistic.

The Prime Minister has stated in response: “We will continue to do all we can to support people without letting government spending and debt spiral, whilst continuing to help Brits to find good jobs and earn more, no matter where they live”.

However, the Government have been criticised by opposing MPs and civil society organisations for simply not doing enough. The Labour party has reiterated its call for an “emergency budget” to tackle the rising costs households are facing, including a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to allow energy bills to be cut.

Calls for a windfall tax on these companies has gained momentum in recent month as oil giants BP and Shell are on course to make a combined profit of almost £40 billion.

Child Poverty Action Group and 30 other organisations have called on the government to increase benefits by 6% in line with rising inflation. Morgan Wild, head of policy at Citizens Advice, told the committee that people in poverty are “already drowning” before this increase in living costs.

Final thought

The current spike in inflation, particularly energy prices and the cost of living presents the most current and important challenge to the Government and the country. Households across the UK have been hit hard by these hikes in prices, with a bleaker picture forecasted for this winter. Mr. Johnson truly needs to seize financial measures to help alleviate this squeeze to stop further households being pushed into poverty. In the longer term, the Government must ensure the country is better equipped to deal with turbulent global affairs through self reliance on energy production.

Photo credit: Rama

Share

Related Topics

Latest

Generative AI in Social Care

Earlier this month, representatives of thirty organisations and individuals working in Adult Social Care met at the University of Oxford, Reuben College, to discuss the benefits and risks of using ‘generative AI’ in social care.

Video Features

How Can we Level Up the UK Sustainably?

Does Democracy Require Proportional Representation?

Marking LGBT+ History Month 2024

How Can Plugging the Skills Gap Support Decarbonisation?

Subscribe to our newsletter for your free digital copy of the journal!

Receive our latest insights, future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Never miss an issue by subcribing to our newsletter!

Receive our latest insights and all future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Never miss an issue by subcribing to our newsletter!

Receive our latest insights and all future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Newsletter Signup

Receive our latest insights as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.