0 Britain Interest Rate Raise 18 Mar 2022

Cost of Living

Sometimes things happen in the economy that take me completely by surprise. I feel like I’m witnessing the impossible. One such experience was on 15th November 2016 when a leading supermarket dropped the price of unleaded and diesel to £0.99 a litre. In 2010 the price sat at around £1.23 per litre and each year it seemed to climb a little more. But in 2016 it started falling, and it kept falling, I couldn’t believe it! I had never experienced anything like it!

Today the opposite is taking place. Prices are increasing at an alarming rate and the cost of heating our homes is higher than I could ever have imagined. In addition, this month we have observed our national government setting out its economic policies and then performing a full-scale U-turn, with the consequence that people must pay significantly more for a mortgage. If, one year ago, someone had told me this was going to happen, I would have thought the idea was ridiculous.

Today the average household fuel bill is almost double what it was this time last year. Even with government interventions, more than three-quarters of households in the UK, or 53 million people, are expected to fall into fuel poverty by January 2023 (University of York).

Food and soft drink prices rose by 13.1% in the 12 months to August 2022. The largest increases were seen in relation to dairy products and eggs. Milk rose by 40.4%, cheese by 21% and eggs by 18.5% (Which).

Back in January, The Trussell Trust were already reporting a 22% increase in demand for support from their food banks in comparison to the previous year (Trussell Trust). Last year, Christians Against Poverty helped more than 13,000 clients struggling with their finances. They’ve already seen a 37% increase in calls to their help line - including a doubling in pleas for emergency fuel top ups. (CAP)

The cost-of-living crisis stretches far and wide. People who have never worried about having enough money to pay their bills are now finding things hard.

There is an African proverb that says, 'If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together'. I fear the journey out of economic crisis is going to be a long one. We need to journey together and look out for each other. Jesus said that we should love our neighbour as ourselves and particularly look out for those in need including the ill, the stranger, the prisoner and the poor. That love wasn't intended only to be expressed individually but also corporately, together.

The majority of this newsletter is dedicated to different ways we can support the most vulnerable. It begins with an appeal for volunteers for a project I am leading over the next few months called North Lynn Food Hub. If you are local to King's Lynn, please spread the word.