Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The price crisis ignites the heat of discontent in the United Kingdom

Sunday, August 07, 2022 – Updated: 13:13HS From 07-08-2022

That’s when a kilo of butter reaches 10 pounds (12 euros) and it costs you 100 pounds (120 euros) to fill the gas tank, when they tell you you’ll need 3,244 pounds (3,800 pounds per year) for electricity and heating. Euro) will cost more. And with more people finding themselves in a dilemma between eating out or paying the bills, it’s time to ask politicians for answers.

As the race to succeed Boris Johnson makes headlines, millions of Britons feel the double stalks of food and energy poverty as winter approaches. The average family in the UK will lose 3,058 euros in purchasing power this year, according to estimates from the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEPR), which accounts for half the decline in the war in Ukraine.

Inflation has already reached 9.4% and it is feared it could reach 12% in the autumn, and the Bank of England is already predicting a recession. Social unrest this summer also stemmed from initiatives such as train strikes, caravans protesting against petrol prices and the Bread and Butter Club to ease the burden carried by citizens among the biggest “squeezes” since the post-war period. is worse.

‘go slow’

Inspired by the French yellow vest and Canada’s independence convoy, hundreds of motorists, truck drivers and farmers have joined caravans to protest the price of petrol on British motorways. Two groups created on Facebook lit the fuse with protests on the London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff Ring Roads since last 4 July.

“It’s a shame we’re paying for the most expensive gasoline in Europe” [2,2 euros el litro] And that our country is also the one that has lowered taxes the least, with a ridiculous five pence a litre”, laments Jamie Wiseman, one of the movement’s promoters.

Police arrested dozens of protesters in the month of July for traveling at less than 50 kilometers per hour and “obstructing” the general public. Organizers of the Go Slow march insist that it is a peaceful way to put pressure on the government and multinationals.

The UK has also been one of the latest countries to pass a 25% tax on profits from energy companies due to popular anger over those record figures. Shell posted a profit of 13.6 billion euros in the second quarter of 2022, and BP tripled their profit. Gas company Centrica also increased its profits by 1,500 million in the first half of the year.

energy poverty

«Heat or eat?». “Heat or eat?” That’s the dilemma millions of British people are afraid to face this winter with electricity bills rising to 3,800 euros. The energy regulator, Offgame, will set this maximum price in October, given the popular noise for inadequate aid measures on the part of the government.

Electricity and gas bills are the biggest contributors to the cost of living crisis. According to The Times, energy can take up to 25% of the income of a family with more than four members and few resources. In the hotel industry, electricity bills can also be equated to rental prices. “It is clear that immediate measures will be necessary at the end of the summer,” predicted Richard Neudig, an analyst at Unswitch.com. “Consumers are facing an extremely harsh winter and cost-saving measures will not be enough.”

During a television interview, on the eve of the turbulent political heat, Boris Johnson was brought up in the case of Elsie, a retired 77-year-old who ate only once a day, and spent hours traveling with his free pass on the bus. Used to spend ” to stay warm” because the pension did not give him enough to pay for heating.

food poverty

Despite being the sixth richest country in the world, the UK has one of the highest rates of food poverty in Europe. It is estimated that 7.3 million adults and 2.6 million children have experienced severe difficulties accessing food. According to Food Foundation figures, one million Britons go without food for at least a day, and more than two million regularly turn to one of the 2,500 food banks following the Cameroonian-era austerity policies. had doubled across the country.

Rising prices in supermarkets have made some staple foods unaffordable to many: skimmed milk has increased by 26%, butter by 21%, flour by 19% and olive oil by 18% in one year.

bread and butter

Meanwhile, in Manchester, so-called Bread and Butter Clubs (‘The Bread and Butter Thing’) have sprung up. “The idea is to cover the food crisis and the price pit of supermarkets,” explains founder and CEO Mark Game, who launched the oddball organization amid a pandemic with the idea of ​​making it up to five times cheaper (from £35). 7.50) Weekly Shopping Cart. Unlike food banks, you do not need to prove that you are in serious financial trouble to become a member of the TBBT club.

“We feed supermarket surpluses, discarded fruits and vegetables because of their appearance, damaged packages or products that are old but still safe to eat,” explains Game. “We fulfill a social and ecological function at the same time, because we use up to 100 tons of food a week.”

There are already 70 clubs, mainly in the north of the country, with 400 volunteers distributing food every month and 1,700 new members. High school teacher Jeremy Burton admitted, “We come not because we’re poor, but because it’s getting harder and harder to meet our needs.” “There is a sense of togetherness between us: You realize that there are people who have to choose between eating out and paying the bills,” he says.

‘fish chips’

The perfect storm threatens fish and chips, typically British dish cod 75%, sunflower oil 60% and flour 40%, according to data from Company Debt. Andrew Crook, president of the National Federation of Fish Fryers, sounded the alarm over a possible disappearance of up to a third of the more than 1,200 fish and chip establishments.

“We are pressing the panic button,” said the crook, who has had to raise the price of rations to £8.60 (about ten euros) for the fourth time so far this year. His restaurant, Skippers of Exton, stands alone in the face of danger in downtown Chorley: “The hardest hit are the takeaway stalls, which used to be cheap but can no longer hide rising prices.” The lace has been imposed by economic sanctions on Russia, resulting in a 35% duty for the purchase of white fish—mainly cod and haddock—that came from the Barents Sea.

‘a cheeseburger’

McDonald’s 99 pence cheeseburger ad has disappeared from a London bus stop. For 14 years, 99 pence faced epidemics and financial crises, but could not withstand the effects of the war in Ukraine. “This summer we will have to add 10 to 20 pence to the products hardest hit by inflation,” announced Alistair Macro, CEO of McDonald’s in the United Kingdom. The cheeseburger thus went for £1.19 (1.42 euro), to the surprise of regular customers at the chain’s 1,300 establishments in the country.

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Nation World News Desk
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