Cost Of Inequality Story 15

Good morning. My name's Ella. I'm a community reporter from the Equality Trust. Um, can I ask you a question, please? How is the cost of living crisis affecting you? Hello

Yes, The cost of living crisis is a very difficult one to estimate because it's very rarely specific in how much money you spend on various important issues to do with your day to day living. However, and there is a significant impact in the amount of money I have to spend. I live on a A limited income, which is a pension

Therefore, I can't really see any benefits in the long term. Making up lost ground on my spending capacity, all the essentials of life such as heating and lighting, uh, purchasing of food, um, anything to do with travel. Certainly

Buying items such as clothes, um, even down to house insurance and stuff like that have all increased. Um, my house insurance, for instance, went up per year from 300 to 450 for no apparent reason other than the market. The insurance market that is seems to think that they have got to gain what they've lost

In fact, the same is uh, apparent with everyone. The, uh, the energy companies are trying to make up the money that they've had to spend in the wake of, uh, Covid. And, of course, the, um, the problems with Russia and the Ukraine

Um, the end of the line are people like me who simply have to pay the bills. The other problem is the cost of living crisis has brought about an increase in the number of, um, difficulties trying to resolve problems. Because the authorities in charge of these commodities are impossible to engage in conversation, they will not

They don't seem to have anyone who is willing to speak for them. They seem to expect you to pay on the nail and just accept all the prizes. But if you have a question to ask, um, it's impossible

People of my age who didn't grow up in a computer age and who struggle to some extent with IT are very often so confused about how to answer these questions or about where to get the information from that. In fact, it's, um they just give up, you feel marginalised in some, they do feel marginalised, and I think there's a a growing number of pensioners, um, who are at a loss as to know who to ask what questions to ask, Where do they turn to for help and guidance? Um, and that that's the same with, uh, with the health issues, which is obviously, uh, another major concern with pensioners, who tend to get less well as the years pass by. But accessing GPS, um, surgeries and treatment there in is again a question of getting up early in the morning, ringing a phone number being put on hold for ages and ages

And then you get an appointment for two or three or four weeks in advance. Um, it's absolutely frustrating for everyone. Um, the cost of food has gone up alarmingly

Cutbacks are having to be made. I think people are really not cooking proper meals. They're snacking on bits of toast or having more cups of tea to try and warm themselves up

With the winter coming on and the cold weather, it's, it's, uh, it's not an easy factor for elderly people to cope with. If they've got less money because their pensions aren't keeping up with inflation, then the whole thing is getting into, uh, a critical situation for many, many pensioners. And, uh, you know, I feel that many of them are going to struggle right through, certainly through the winter and probably for the whole of next year as well

The energy companies, for instance, have said that the prices the gas and electricity are going to increase, Um, within the next month or two. how that relates to people being better off, I don't really know, but certainly they're going to be extremely worse off. Um, food crises don't seem to be resumed gaining, uh, dissolving

Well, they they don't They don't really seem to one or two items have come down in price, but, uh, the big hikes in prices have stayed there so that obviously, people are not buying as much food or they're buying cheaper food, which isn't as nourishing, is there? Sorry to interrupt. Is there anything comparable? Um, in your lifetime that you could say this this equates to as a as a sort of crisis, or is it a unique, um, experience for for generations? I think this is a whole new experience in my generation. Ever

Uh, you know, during the 19 fifties and 19 sixties and seventies, right up to the current day. Gradually, the standard of living in the country increased slowly. But surely, Um, now, um, I don't think that is the case, and I think it's, uh Whereas we have, um, mechanisms to, uh, protect people

Nevertheless, I think the youngsters, you know, young people, young teenagers, for instance, and people just in their twenties finding this difficult to cope with because they've never really been in a situation where hardship real hardship is, uh, the norm. I'm pretty sure that a lot of young people in families, um, are really finding it hard to cope. Um, no, they they they just haven't got the things to look forward to that, uh, we would normally take for granted

So I'm pretty sure that working class parents will not be taking holidays, uh, with their Children in the summer in the way that they might have done in recent years. In fact, in the last 30 40 50 years, you know, they just simply can't afford it. Um, transport costs have hit the roof

Um, it's just impossible to go anywhere on a on a train journey, for instance. Um, is is a ridiculous journey. To go to London for a day return is on a normal return from Birmingham is something like 50 £60

Perhaps even more. Um, you know, it's impossible to go locally on the, um on the on the trains because the workers on the railways are looking to earn more money to stave off the effects of, um, cost, cost of living crisis. They're going on strike, uh, so people can't travel

And even if the strikes finish, you're going to find that prices just go through the roof so that PE people won't be able to do that anyway. So the only people that get it, um, are really the people who put the prices up. The railway companies

It's a classic. Do you think it's commensurate with the Tories, or is it something that you think that labour could solve? Or is it just something that's going to continue despite the government have been any difference with a labour run government? A lot of these issues are externally promoted. It's just a set of circumstances that happened along, and governments might deal with them in different ways

But at the end of the day. If you haven't got enough money to pay for, um, the things that you normally regard as necessary, then you're going to have to cut back. And cutting back means spending less money but leading, uh, a slightly poorer standard of living

It's, um it's an interna. It's an international problem, not just a national one. I think people in many countries in the world to go into the same sort of crisis, but we always seem to have um um, a lot more people affected by it

I think a lot more people are poorer. A lot more people are less well off. A lot more people are finding life difficult now, Um, pensioners are going to suffer even more because if the triple lock mechanism is abandoned by either conservatives or the Labour government, and in the last few days, the leaders of both those parties have refused to guarantee the triple lock for the next government explain

The conservatives are doing so at present, but I think if there's an election in 2024 neither the Conservatives nor Labour will actually guarantee the triple lock for pet pensioners. Could you please explain very briefly what the triple lock is triple lock is a mechanism whereby pensioners receive an increase in their regular pension. This is consistent with either the rate of inflation or one or two other factors governing the cost of living

Um, so, uh, the retail price index, I think, is another one and interest rates. So if either of those go, it's the triple lock will come in with with a relationship to the highest one of those three mechanisms and guarantee the pensioners. So if inflation is higher than the rate of interest, for instance, or, um, whatever else there is to work from, then it goes up

It goes up by that rate, but the it's both there are Members of Parliament from both parties have said quite clearly that that is unaffordable. It's not affordable now, but they're sticking with it at the moment because they're both scared not to. But I think come come the election next year, both bite the bullet and take some risks

Hard look tough. Look, there's the triple lot will go, and that is going to hit pensioners who as our only income is a state pension, they're going to be extremely poorly off. May I ask one final question? Um, I believe that you're a parent, underground parent

And, um, I just wanted to know how and if the crisis has impacted people closest to you. And if that's had a knock on effect to you And if you think that is something that other parents grandparents would be familiar with, um as well. So not only are you being affected individually, you're being affected by a knock on effect

Well, I think I think there are far too many jobs. The pie minimum wage. Um, there are lots of jobs available on minimum wage, but earning a minimum wage won't get you anywhere

You can't really No one can afford to live on minimum wage. That's obviously going to impact on families. I think, in answer to your question, throughout the throughout the post war period, up to the almost the present day, people at least had an optimism that things would get better

And so my parents, uh, saw their lifestyles improve gradually, year by year by year. There was never any situation when, um, when things looked as glum as they are now, Um, there was the, um there was the period in the Labour government in the 19 eighties. I think when we had the, uh, the three day week, um, but that didn't last that long

Otherwise, the the standard of living for most people gradually increased. However, it increased a lot more for people who are already wealthy who were already, should we say, comfortably off their salaries. And their rewards rose exponentially, as opposed to the slower growth for the average workers in the country

So there is a far bigger gap between the the well off people in society than the average and the poor. There's, uh, there's certainly, um, a larger a larger differential in earnings. And you only have to travel around the country to see that there are certain places in the country where the average house prices are well over a million pounds

And you know, there are a place in the country where people could not even dream of buying their own and the people with the money in this country. Um, I haven't really earned it to that extent. I think when you can, um, the whole country has gone skew if about, uh, earning money

If you If this country can run football clubs who are prepared to pay £200,000 plus per week for someone to play football, it's an indication that society has gone completely wrong because no one is worth that amount of money. Um, and people realise this people people aren't stupid. People understand that, you know, no matter what level of football you play at, you're not worth at the end of a month, a million pounds

It's absolutely absurd, and it's disgusting, and it shouldn't be happening. And, um, if they're earning that much money, they they obviously they're paying a lot more in tax. But they're still earning obscene amounts of money

Um, that that they can, um that affords them to buy luxury homes both at home and abroad. And those are investments that will always, um, a crew of the money. So even when they're retired, they've got things that they can sell for a lot more than they bought them for, so they'll never they'll

Their pension fund, in other words, has been, uh, increased, uh, to a level that ordinary people can only dream of. Well, your answers have been really fascinating, and I could talk to you all day. I've got so many more questions I'd like to ask

So, um, but we'll leave it there for now. Unless there's anything that you'd like to add. Um, particularly

And perhaps we can come back to you again in the future. There's nothing at the moment. No

OK, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure chatting to you. Take care


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