We’re in the middle of a cost of living crisis and I’m meeting more and more people and families who are struggling to cope. I was talking to a nurse who told me her family are finding things increasingly difficult as prices outstrip pay. It’s no joke when Foodbanks now outnumber McDonalds in Britain. It’s no joke when Foodbanks are telling me that there’s been a big increase in working families coming for help. It’s no joke when oil giant, BP, in the middle of this crisis, announce £6.2 billion profits in the first quarter of this year.
Families are facing rocketing fuel costs whilst the energy companies are making windfall profits as energy prices go ever upwards. Keir Starmer and the Labour Party have called for a windfall tax on these windfall profits but the Prime Minister backs the energy company shareholders and does nothing.
Actually Mr Johnson’s Tory government is doing worse than nothing. They’ve delivered the biggest cut to state pensions in many a year, they’ve cut Universal Credit by £20 and they’ve put up taxes for those in work. They are not prepared to help as poverty grows.
Prime Minister Johnson was told about Elsie, a pensioner, who was really struggling financially and had cut down to one meal a day. She had taken to using her pensioner pass to travel on buses through the day just to keep warm. Mr Johnson’s bizarre response was to ignore Elsie’s dire circumstances and instead boast that it was him who had introduced Pensioner Travel passes.
For the record, he didn’t. It’s the Prime Minister’s good luck that he has no experience of what a cost of living crisis does to families, but it is horrible when he shows that he doesn’t understand or even care.
Talking of caring, I received some emails recently from a very odd campaign. It asked me to “place a phone call to the RNLI and demand that they focus on saving British lives on our coastal areas” and told me that the Royal National Lifeboat Institution is “nothing more than a taxi service for migrants!” It’s not. The RNLI is an amazing body whose volunteers save lives at sea without asking drowning children and adults for passports or nationality. Racism is horrible anyway but those who wrote in this way have been horribly warped by their hatred.
Again for the record, when I do call the RNLI it will be to give a donation.
This article was originally published in the Rochdale Observer on 7 May 2022.