At the end of last month it was reported that the cost of living in the UK would rise by five per cent. The rise was measured in part by using the “average” basket of shopping, but campaigners were quick to point out this wasn’t the full story, with many poorer households experiencing a much steeper increase in prices.
Campaigner Jack Monroe pointed out that, while prices overall may have risen by 5 per cent, many of the cheapest options, such as supermarket’s value ranges, have seen astonishing rises. Writing on Twitter, Monroe said: “This time last year, the cheapest pasta in my local supermarket (one of the Big Four), was 29p for 500g. Today it’s 70p. That’s a 141% price increase as it hits the poorest and most vulnerable households”.
Woke up this morning to the radio talking about the cost of living rising a further 5%. It infuriates me the index that they use for this calculation, which grossly underestimates the real cost of inflation as it happens to people with the least. Allow me to briefly explain.
— Jack Monroe (@BootstrapCook) January 19, 2022
Just a week later, Ofgem, the office of gas and electricity markets, announced a huge rise in the price cap. From April, the average household will see a £693 increase in energy costs per year – a rise of 54 per cent. For those 4.5 million households on prepayment metres, the average cost will rise by £708 per year.
The rise comes as a spike in energy prices has threatened energy companies and seen many, including Bulb, go bust and be placed in administration.
The last decade has seen the decimation of living standards. With the Conservative’s austerity measures having allegedly led to 130,000 extra deaths, one in five households in the UK are now in poverty and there has been an astronomical rise in foodbank use.
This weekend, crowds gathered in towns and cities across the country. In London, up to 1000 people gathered in Parliament Square to demonstrate against the squeeze on living standards and to call for the Tories to be out. The protest was organised by People’s Assembly, Disabled People Against Cuts, Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century and Fuel Poverty Action and saw the crowd addressed by speakers from the groups, as well as former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, before marching to Downing Street.
Photographer Aiyush Pachnanda was there to capture the action.
Follow Aiyush Pachnanda on Instagram.