The cost of living has led many families to cut back on necessities such as food (Getty)
The rising cost of living crisis in Britain has forced shoppers to choose their spending priorities, as well as cuts in key items in exchange for shelter, while most families fear the situation will worsen in the absence of signs to curb high prices . combined a series of shocks into their penetration into the country.
Once the citizens breathed a sigh of relief over the repercussions of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union and the Corona virus pandemic over the past two years, the energy price shock was finally prolonged as a result of the Russian war in Ukraine and the recovery of the global demand after leaving the epidemic, which negatively impacted people’s incomes.
Although inflation is a global problem, Boris Johnson’s government is under widespread criticism for the deteriorating conditions of consumers, and is facing increasing pressure to help people and find appropriate solutions to this crisis.
So last Tuesday, when he presented the government’s legislative agenda for the 2022-2023 parliamentary session, Johnson highlighted a £ 22 billion ($ 26.9 billion) support package aimed at tackling the cost-of-living crisis.
Johnson acknowledged that the seriousness of the problem was such that the government could not radically resolve it, but rather sought to mitigate its damage.
According to recent consumer sentiment surveys from various research groups, British households are more pessimistic about their personal finances than any other major economy in Europe, and that their confidence in personal income is at its lowest level since 1985.
This led to a 0.3% drop in spending on the country’s main streets in April due to a sharp drop in consumer confidence and more pressure on households’ budgets, according to figures from the Retail Sales Monitor report released by the British Retail Consortium has been published.
This is the first drop recorded by the industrial survey in 15 months, even though higher energy prices and inflation have reduced what consumers can spend.
Meanwhile, separate figures show that overall credit card spending on shopping and dining has slowed over the past month as people become more cautious in their spending.
According to a March survey by the Office of National Statistics, nearly a third of people said the cost-of-living crisis had prompted them to cut back on necessities such as food and heating.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, was quoted as saying by The Eye newspaper last week that “the rising cost of living has broken consumer confidence and curbed consumer spending”. Retail sales fell 1.7% in April as spending on more and more expensive goods fell. Also, total food sales for the past three months have decreased by 1.3%.
The Bank of England expected things to worsen a few days ago, with inflation reaching 10% by the end of 2022, driven by a combination of factors including high energy prices and supply chain disruption following the Corona epidemic. Inflation has not stopped rising since the beginning of this year, as it rose by 5.5% year-on-year in January, 6.2% in February and 7% in March.
And last week, the American Bloomberg agency quoted Andy Haldani, a former chief economist at the Bank of England, as saying that the inflation crisis in Britain would last for years, not months, and could continue until 2024.
In addition to the repercussions of high energy prices, prices are exacerbated by the delay in imports of goods from China, in light of the supply chain crisis that arose mainly with the spread of the Corona pandemic.
The repercussions of rising commodity prices do not appear to be in isolation from families’ ability to provide adequate housing. Approval to rent housing in the UK requires disclosure of annual salary, rental history, credit level and others.
Thomas, 47, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that rents for a reasonably well-located three-bedroom house in suburbs of London such as Ealing, Brentford and Hanslow start from £ 2,000 a month.
Thomas adds that although his annual salary is £ 65,000, he has fallen into the list of property offices for renting housing worth £ 2,200 a month, explaining that he has been told he needs housing worth £ 2,167 get because this value was consistent with its ability to afford the cost of rent.
He points out that finding suitable housing has become an almost impossible task in London and its suburbs, and that families are living in tension and anxiety over high prices in general. In this context, economists recommend that the tenant should not spend more than 35% of his rental income alone.
According to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, around 1.5 million UK households are expected to struggle to pay their food and energy bills amid a growing cost-of-living crisis that will plunge the UK into a recession.
The institute believes that with the decline in purchasing power, more than 250,000 families will slip into extreme poverty next year, and the total number of people living in extreme poverty will reach about one million unless urgent action is taken.