The Cost of Living Crisis
This TUCG booklet forms the second instalment of a two-part series looking at the scale and extent of the “cost of living crisis”. In the first booklet we looked at the factors that have been contributing to the great squeeze on the real incomes of the majority of earners, particularly after housing costs have been factored in. Falling real earnings, attacks on benefits and the cost of renting against the backdrop of the increasing unaffordability of home ownership have made for a dramatic collapse in the real value of our incomes.
This part looks at the pressures of the rising costs of other forms of household expenditure in a context of rising prices for essential goods as measured by the new “Real Britain” index, which has been commissioned by the TUCG along with PCS and Unite and is being produced by the New Economics Foundation (www.realbritainindex.org). This booklet looks at those costs that are not exactly discretionary purchases – travel, utility bills, childcare and the like – and have been clawing more and more from our falling real incomes.
Taken together, these TUCG booklets put forward a series of radical policy options which a government could implement were it to make action on the cost of living for working people its top priority, rather than assume that the best we can do is make tinkering adjustments within the limits of an austerity agenda. Rather, these options point to the need to tackle the structural and systemic pressures responsible for the rising cost of living, and for a radical transformation of the economy in order to put the needs of working people before the interest of private profit.