High prices force Britons to change their lifestyle

Rising cost of living heralds increasing poverty (Getty)

Many families in Britain are irritated by the high cost of living, which threatens to raise poverty rates in European country, where high fuel bills and rising national insurance payments and other factors are causing the biggest cost of living crisis, to warn analysts about rising poverty rates to unprecedented levels. A case in the UK outside recession periods.

Several families spoke to the media and posted on social media about their inability to bear the rising costs and the insanely high prices, noting that they had to change their lifestyle and sometimes had to choose between heating or paying for food.

The situation of families who depend on oil to heat their homes is exacerbated by the close link between the price of fuel and the cost of crude oil, whose prices rose dramatically after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 28 February . The price of heating oil for homes (mostly kerosene), which has risen by 50%, has affected more than a million households in the UK, and a number of families fear that prices will continue to rise.

Hughes (81) from Bali Clare / Northern Ireland spoke to The New Arab and said he lives alone in a four-bedroom house after his wife’s death and uses about 300 liters of heating oil a month to maintain the right temperature. home heating is around £ 324.

Hughes points out that heating oil prices soared in March due to people’s panic at the start of the war and the increase in demand for it, noting that on the fourth of last March he paid 450 pounds sterling for 400 liters .

He adds that he is currently trying to reduce his heating usage. After operating it earlier from eight o’clock in the morning until ten o’clock in the evening, he began to legalize his use. He goes back an hour in the morning and stops it at noon and noon every times for about an hour, then stop the heating at eight o’clock in the evening and go to bed early to avoid the cold.

Home heating oil is used throughout the UK, largely in Northern Ireland, which operates two-thirds of its central heating systems, according to the 2016 Northern Ireland State of Homes Survey.

It is used in many rural areas of the country, and is used by about 8% of homes in Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics. In England, about 3% of households use home heating oil, although this percentage rises to 7% in the south west and east of England. Census data for 2011 show that around one in 20 households in Scotland use home heating oil.

Historical Income Shock

Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, warned that Britain was facing a “historic real income shock”, with energy prices higher this year than any other during the 1970s.

In recent statements, he said that the catastrophic impact that this crisis will have on people’s livelihoods is clear, and that 600,000 people will face poverty, while millions will suffer to bear the necessary costs.

On the other hand, the British are trying to save as much as possible so that many of them have resorted to using public transport, bicycles and walking, rather than using their own cars, to reduce their petrol consumption, which has also increased in price significantly.

Lorella, 54, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that her use of the bicycle had increased, and that it was no longer just a means of entertainment, but had become an essential means of transportation for most of the places nearby. .

She adds that she sees more bikes on the street and is also switching to public transport. And she continues, “The rise in fuel prices may be positive to some extent, and is in the interest of the environment and climate change, but what is worrying is the rise in food and energy prices that are already threatening our lives, especially low. income people. “

High rates of poverty

Charities have warned that the situation will only get worse as the cost of living rises. Today, what is known as the child poverty rate in large families with three or more children returns to what it was in 1996/1997, or 47%, after the government managed to make progress through this rate to 33% by 2012. / 2013 to decrease. , according to data from a UK Poverty 2022 report, which sets out trends and impacts of poverty across the UK.

Child poverty has increased rapidly in recent years, with 4.3 million children below the line even before the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. This number has been 500,000 children over the past five years.

However, the government said it did not need a unit dedicated to addressing child poverty because it had scrapped child poverty targets, which had led opposition politicians and poverty activists to accuse ministers of not having a plan. not.

“Al-Araby Al-Jadeed” contacted Romina, 48, whose family consists of five people, and she said that “the sudden rise in prices put her and her husband in front of difficult choices, and they started planning together. how to avoid falling into poverty. “

And she continues: “We stopped buying any new clothes, and I went to the supermarket at specific times in search of food at discounted prices, but the ridiculous thing is that we eat healthier food since we stopped eating fast food. order and lots of sweets, chips and juices, and we started cooking meat More and more vegetables.As for heating, we try as much as possible to avoid it.We wear coats inside the house and use hot plastic water bottles to feel warm.The situation is so difficult that we only use our car when it is absolutely necessary, my son rides his bike and we turn to the bus or the train. ”

Go to the food bank

Data released by the charity “Trustal Trust” indicate an increase in cases of turning to the food bank, especially by people with chronic health conditions.

According to the data, 75% of food bank users have one or more individuals affected by health conditions. According to research from the Food Standards Agency, only one in seven food-poor people use a food bank.

Research shows people turn to the food bank for help as a last resort, and often cut food budgets by buying a cheaper alternative and reducing the amount they eat. They also do not always find that the food provided by the food charities is suitable for their health condition.

Worryingly, living with food insecurity is closely linked to mental health issues, and using a food bank can cause additional psychological stress.

Home rent and mortgages

Rental costs are also rising at the fastest rate ever, as data from the HomeLet Rental Index shows that average rents have risen by 8.6% since February 2022. While the Office for National Statistics recently stated that average rents have risen by 2% over the past year 2021.

The data already shows that private rents are unaffordable for the poorest people in the country, with data from 2021 showing that there are only two regions in England where the poorest families spend less than 30% of their income on rental costs.

Mortgage holders will also be hit by increased costs, as the Bank of England has raised the policy rate in an effort to tackle inflation, meaning it will be more expensive to pay off.

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