The Cost Of Living Crisis: Impact On People’s Lives
Written by Oliwia Libelt on 12th April 2023
The cost of living crisis is a serious issue that is affecting most households nowadays. Among the significant contributors to this rise are energy and food costs. The prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks rose at the fastest rate in more than 45 years in the 12 months to February 2023. Over half of adults are buying cheaper food because of cost of living crisis. Among them are those ones, who struggle to meet ends every month.
One of the charities that helps people in need is called Trussell Trust, which supports a network of food banks across the UK. Each provides emergency food to people in crisis. How does it work? Peter, a volunteer at Bethany City Church Foodbank in Sunderland, explains:
“The way that Trussell Trust operates is that someone has to have a voucher to be able to get a food parcel. And that’s because they do not want someone walking through the door saying “I need food”, not knowing their circumstances. Unfortunately, we had experienced when some people get food, go straight away, and sell it or exchange for drugs.
The vouchers are issued from the council, Citizen Advice, Job Centre, and two other mental health charities.”
Food prices are expected to rise as the UK imports a significant portion of its food, with the pandemic disrupting global supply chains. Brexit has also resulted in new trade regulations, which could lead to further price increases for imported goods. These factors, combined with the cost of transportation, make it more expensive to purchase basic food items like fruits, vegetables, and meat, potentially affecting people’s grocery budgets.
Energy costs are expected to increase as the UK Government focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, prioritizing renewable sources of energy over traditional ones like coal and oil. While this shift is crucial for the environment, it may lead to higher energy prices in the short term. Moreover, the pandemic has resulted in increased energy usage, with more people working from home and spending more time indoors. This increased demand could drive up the prices for electricity and gas, affecting people’s monthly utility bills.
Peter says: “There are a lot of more people who are finding it hard to survive. Many of them are on benefits. However, we see people, who are working and still struggling. The number of people who come each day to get a food parcel has significantly increased last year. We are giving between 20 and 25 food parcels every day. I can just guess, but the number of people in need increased by at least 25 to 30%.”
In addition to energy and food costs, housing prices are also expected to increase, making it more challenging for people to afford suitable homes. The pandemic has led to a reassessment of living arrangements, with more people seeking larger homes with outdoor space, and the low-interest rates have made mortgages more accessible. However, the shortage of affordable housing and increased demand may drive up prices further, potentially making it harder for people to find affordable homes.
As a result of cost of living crisis many people had to find new places to live, so they can afford a roof over their heads.
Larisa, from Sunderland, said: “When the crisis started, I still had the same full time job. It was keeping me going, but then I started feeling like my salary wasn’t enough. I didn’t get a pay rise. When the prices have gone up, my wallet noticed that, as I had to buy cheaper and cheaper food. My rent has also gone up and this was a massive hit for a single person. I had to move out from my apartment, and find a room in a share house”.
As we entered 2023, most people in the UK may face increasing costs for energy, food, and housing. While the UK Government is working to mitigate the impact of these increases, individuals and families may need to adjust their budgets to cope with the rising costs, potentially affecting their quality of life. It’s worth to remember about local charity organisations, community centres and other initiatives that help with surviving the cost of living crisis.