What has happened in society? Why are so many families across the UK struggling to keep their heads above water?
We are currently in the midst of a 'cost of living crisis'.
A cost of living crisis refers to a situation where the cost of essential goods and services needed for an adequate standard of living, such as housing, food, healthcare, and education, rises significantly, while wages and income do not increase at the same rate. This means that people are struggling to meet their basic needs and maintain a decent quality of life due to the high costs of essential goods and services.
The impact of the cost of living crisis can be particularly severe for low-income earners, the elderly, and those on fixed incomes, who may have limited resources to cope with rising costs. Newham is one of the most diverse, but deprived London boroughs. Four areas in Newham are among the poorest in England. Fifty percent of children across the borough of Newham live in poverty and thirty percent of local jobs still don’t pay the London living wage. Newham has the third highest population in any London borough. The cost of living crisis is currently effecting the UK due to a variety of factors that have impacted the economy and society.
Some of the key factors contributing to the current cost of living crisis in the UK include:
The UK is currently experiencing high levels of inflation, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reaching a nine-year high in December 2021. Inflation erodes the purchasing power of money, meaning that people's wages and savings may not stretch as far as they used to, leading to a decrease in their standard of living.
2. Supply chain disruptions:
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to global supply chain disruptions, resulting in shortages of certain goods and services, which in turn can drive up prices. For example, shortages of goods like computer chips, energy, and food have all contributed to the increase in prices in the UK.
3. Housing costs:
The UK is currently experiencing a housing crisis, with high demand and limited supply resulting in skyrocketing house prices and rents. This means that many people are struggling to afford adequate housing, which can have a knock-on effect on their ability to cover other essential living expenses.
4. Energy prices:
In September 2021, energy prices reached record highs in the UK, resulting in a significant increase in the cost of heating and powering homes. This has put additional pressure on households already struggling to make ends meet.
In conclusion, these factors, among others, have contributed to a cost of living crisis in the UK, with many people finding it increasingly difficult to afford basic necessities.
There are several things you can do to support your family and friends during a cost of living crisis:
Budget wisely: create a budget that prioritises essential expenses such as food, housing, and utilities. Cut back on discretionary spending, such as entertainment and dining out, to free up more money for essential expenses.
Look for ways to increase income: consider taking on a part-time job, freelancing, or selling items you no longer need. Look for ways to generate more income to help cover the cost of living expenses.
Shop smart: look for deals and discounts on groceries and other essential items. Buy in bulk and plan meals in advance to minimise waste.
Communicate with your family: talk openly with your family about the financial situation and what changes need to be made. Encourage everyone to work together to cut back on expenses and find ways to save money.
Seek assistance: check with local and national programs that may offer financial assistance for families in need. This may include food assistance programs, housing assistance, or energy assistance.
Remember, you are not alone in facing a cost of living crisis. By working together and making changes to your lifestyle and budget, you can support your family during difficult times
Written and Edited by Tasnima (Y12)