A single mother-of-four says she is having to consider whether or not to feed herself some nights so she has enough to feed her children, despite government energy subsidies saving £900 a year for a “typical” household. BBC Politics East examined how price rises have affected people and businesses.
“These are the sacrifices”
Donna, a mum from Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, who did not wish to give her surname, said: “The rent, which is £995, is now going up to £1,195. It keeps me awake at night.
“I do sometimes get stressed, but I don’t let my children see it, as I don’t want them seeing mummy stressing.
“When the kids are at their dad’s, i don’t eat. What’s the point in turning on the electricity to cook? What is the point of me eating?
“The children will be fed. These are the sacrifices that people will have to make.
“I’m not alone.” People will choose to feed their kids, not themselves.
“How did we get to this point?”
The Right Reverend Martin Seeley said that Lord Bishop of St Edmundsbury, Ipswich, stated: “We are seeing families who would never dream of coming to a Top-up Shop or a Food Bank seeking food every week. They are coming in because they can’t afford food for their children, even though they’re working parents.
“And you have just to wonder how we got into this position? What’s the deal with a country that has a decent welfare system and is prosperous?
“I believe that the provisions such as the energy price cap and the cost of living allowances are not reaching the most vulnerable. I believe that more could be done in order to direct what is being given to those most in need.
“For instance, I get a winter fuel allowance due to my age. This is not what I need. So I give it to the Suffolk community foundation to pass it along to other people.
“A few difficult years”
Andrew Moss is the managing director of Horizon Retail Marketing Solutions, Ely, Cambridgeshire. This company makes displays for businesses.
“Every single cost has increased by at least two-fold. Three-fold. Four-fold. [recently]. He said that our raw material costs have risen by more than 30%.”
“We just have to deal… but we’ve got it on a weekly base.”
Moss claimed that the business could weather the storm and make profits. But, it would also mean no investment. And no investment means no growth.
“I don’t mind having a difficult year. I don’t mind having a few tough years. He said that if we don’t have the funds to invest, it will impact us over the long-term and not just in the short-term.”
Victoria MacDonald (landlady of The Cellar House pub at Eaton in Norwich), said that the government could do much more to support the hospitality trade.
“As part a Campaign for Pubs, one thing we’ve called for” is the removal of VAT [value added tax]She said,
People might think that a decrease in VAT means less money for the government. However, if fewer businesses close, that will be less cost to the government.
“So, helping us a bit more, that keeps me going and will eventually reduce the impact on the government budgets.”
A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said: “We understand this is a difficult period for businesses and households and that we remain firm on their side.
“We have taken action to deliver the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which means that businesses will pay less than half of the expected wholesale energy cost this winter.
“We have also limited the amount suppliers can charge through the Energy Price Guarantee, saving a typical household over £900 this winter.”
You can find more information on this story at Politics East on BBC One Sunday, 18 Dec, 10:05 GMT. BBC iPlayer afterwards.