Monday, 20 May 2024

Inflation versus wage increases: the shocking erosion of living standards in Con-Dem Britain

David Cameron and Nick Clegg. In Con-Dem Britain the cost of living has shot up.

FEW PEOPLE can have failed to notice the rise in the cost of living in recent years. Many households over the last few months have been receiving letters from their energy suppliers detailing sharp increases in how much it will cost just to heat and light their homes. No doubt pretty much everyone has also experienced that moment of disbelief at the supermarket checkout when the total for a weekly shopping has been rung-up.

A study published in The Times of 1 December 2012 provided some vital facts and figures illustrating just how far prices are rising ahead of wages. Entitled Consumers hit as prices outstrip pay by 10 times, it set out just how our standard of living is being eroded by inflation since the start of the current financial crisis. Heating costs have increased by 63% since the summer of 2008, (from an average of £819 to £1,334 per annum); potatoes are up by 50%, tomatoes by 23% and mince by 30%. Rents have gone up in price by 10%, (in England and Wales this has translated into an average rent increase of £60 per month since 2008). Over the same period, wages only grew by 6.8% and the overall effect of inflation has been to reduce the mean real household disposable income per capita of the working age population from £18,634 in July 2008 to £18,118 today. In plain English this means that rapid inflation and slow wage growth has left working people worse-off than they were in 2008!

So much for the economic figures, but what is their real-life impact on ordinary people in this country? Shockingly, The Times article cites research from The Centre for the Modern Family that found that one in eight people aged between 18 and 34 are sacrificing meals in order that their families eat well. The price comparison site warns that nine out of ten people in this country are expecting to have to ration their fuel consumption during the winter. Overall, research by the newspaper has found that 78% of people are feeling that family life is harder today than it was five years ago and 20% are finding things a struggle financially. This is the reality of life in Con-Dem Britain.
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