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'Heating or eating': Britons struggle with rising costs

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By Charles ONIANS

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Like many in Britain, this winter she will have to make the tough choice between "heating or eating".

that’s not a tough choice..that’s a very easy one.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

Eating over heating. every time. Make some soup and wear two jerseys like we used to.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Very advanced in Britain.

Children starve and freeze.

And get health problems.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

As a result, even more households across Britain will face fuel poverty, spending more than 10 percent of their total income on fuel.

The above yet one more example of the failures of fossil capitalism, a system that has further enriched a caste made up largely of people born to wealth. The globe's oil barons, in both private and government sectors, continue their strangleholds on the planet. And still many facing fuel poverty support fossil capitalism, just like their parents and grandparents did, actually believing bits of the ruling caste's trickle will some day appear and make things better for them, while they wonder when they might be warm again, and when they may get a bite to eat. One possible way for some to break the poverty loop is to join a branch of the military to fight in another war for oil that primarily benefits the ruling caste.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

40% of the UK energy is renewable. Unfortunately, that accounts for only 10% of energy used, but the country is successfully undergoing a transition and will reach energy security in the future. The UK could, of course, take out trillions of pounds of Bank of England bonds in order to glaze over all its problems, but...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There are supermarkets in the UK that ae cheap to begin with and additionally discount older items to pennies.

Many Brits keep their central heating on 24/7 and wear t-shirts indoors.

Still room for economising in the UK for many.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

What about the Brexit dividend, Boris?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

PTownsendToday  07:44 am JST

very nicely and succinctly put....

5 ( +5 / -0 )

my niece there tells me her lighting and heating bills have doubled..... blimey!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The whole renewable energy thing doesn't seem to be working so well.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Mickelicious 07:53 am JST

What about the Brexit dividend, Boris?

Plus ten years of the Tory "austerity programme" and three years of total Covid mismanagement. When do we get our 1789?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

What about the Brexit dividend, Boris?

Brexit = Breaks It

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How are we doing with Brexit?..

"Oohhh we are doing very well, we are going bankrupt, we are heading towards famine and extreme poverty but we are happy separated from Europe.. We are sooooo ourselves!!!.. ".

UK now It is not even the shadow of the ancient powerful invading empire that grew rich with the resources of its colonies..

Life is like a restaurant, you don't leave until you pay the bill..

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The above yet one more example of the failures of fossil capitalism, a system that has further enriched a caste made up largely of people born to wealth. 

There are understandable technical reasons why UK is facing rapidly rising energy prices that have nothing to do with what you wrote. The bulk of UKs natural gas comes from the UK, with Norway being the next largest supplier. 2021 was a year where renewable energy failed. UK had the least windy summer in memory, forcing energy suppliers to rely on natural gas fired power plants and nuclear power instead of wind power. But to add insult to injury UK had to shut down some nuclear plants for unplanned maintenance and an undersea power cable from France was shut down for a fire. Add in a lack of storage for gas and you come up with a situation where supplies bought on less expensive long term contracts are depleted earlier than planned and UK power generators are forced to buy gas on the spot market. Bad planning and bad luck bit UK. It's not all a grand conspiracy. It really isn't. If UK had more gas storage it would not be in such a bind right now. Having reliable nuclear power plants on line would also be helpful.

Due to the situation in the Ukraine the US is making a full court press to find gas supplies for Europe in the Middle East, mainly UAE and Qatar, to replace Russian gas supplies. That will benefit UK. In addition a couple of dozen ships full of CNG that were headed for China have been diverted to Europe. China is facing a production slowdown due to Covid and the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday so they don't need the gas. Europe could buy all the gas they want from the US but the Europeans object to US gas production habits that allow a lot of methane to escape into the atmosphere. They don't want to reward sloppy US ways. That may require a re think. Stay tuned.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

There are supermarkets in the UK that ae cheap to begin with and additionally discount older items to pennies.

Many Brits keep their central heating on 24/7 and wear t-shirts indoors.

Still room for economising in the UK for many.

Yes, there are cheap supermarkets in Britain. The problem, if you read the article, that the price of food is rising sharply.

Yes, some people do leave the central heating on 24 hours. I think it is wasteful. But those that do are generally not those that have to go to food banks.

Yes, lots of people could economise. Those on the breadline are already economising.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

If blaming UK’s withdrawal from the European Union helps to relieve the pain/challenges the UK and in many respects the global economic model is going to have to contend with.

Then you are mistaken.

Central Europe is facing the same crisis, energy, debt, fuel, food poverty as the UK    

April will present a series of monetary/fiscal facts of life that can no longer be ignored.

Covid borrowing…     

Public sector finances, UK: November 2021

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/governmentpublicsectorandtaxes/publicsectorfinance/bulletins/publicsectorfinances/november2021

Public sector net borrowing (excluding public sector banks, PSNB ex) was estimated to have been £17.4 billion in November 2021; this was the second-highest November borrowing since monthly records began in 1993, £4.9 billion less than in November 2020.

PSNB ex was estimated to have been £136.0 billion in the financial year-to-November 2021; this was the second-highest financial year-to-November borrowing since monthly records began in 1993, £115.8 billion less than in the same period last year.

Public sector net debt excluding public sector banks (PSND ex) was £2,317.7 billion at the end of November 2021 or around 96.1% of gross domestic product (GDP), the highest ratio since March 1963 when it was 98.3%.

Coronavirus analysis…….I would be seated reading this

https://obr.uk/coronavirus-analysis/

Energy crisis: What can the UK government do to help cut fuel bills?

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2303699-energy-crisis-what-can-the-uk-government-do-to-help-cut-fuel-bills/#ixzz7IqAyGcX9

That, before we get to the increases in NI contribution.

The Country will have to pull together. No doubt.

However, there is no magic wand.

If in need UK food banks are a stop gap, I believe you will need a referral…..

Best action directly calling your Citizens Advice Bureau.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Life is like a restaurant, you don't leave until you pay the bill..

Same fate goes for the "Land of the slave and the home of the scared"..

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

To control Inflation the Bank of England is going to to review interests rate.

This will affect the cost of existing and future borrowing (mortgage rate)

Bank of England to raise rates again in February as inflation surges

https://www.reuters.com/business/bank-england-raise-rates-again-february-inflation-surges-2022-01-21/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There have always been poor people in the UK, nothing new.

The bigger problem is obesity. A third of the adult population are dangerously overweight.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

"We think we're likely to feed 20,000 people in 2022," said foodbank manager Mike Beckett. "If there is a slowdown, and things get worse, it might be as many as 25,000 people. That is certainly a bit of a nightmare. Our worst case scenario is maybe 30,000 people."

Colchester's population is only 120,000. There may be other foodbanks as well, in churches, mosques etc. 1 in 5 or 6 people dependent on free food to get by, most of them working one or more jobs. It's back to Victorian times.

Just on the heat vs. eat, I looked it up once, and the British plumbing association said the average British person turns on the heating when it is 13C outside (12C for Scots). Some of this will be old people who have much greater needs, but what it indicates is the overall terrible quality of housing in the UK. This would not happen in Scandanavia with its building standards. The problem has not emerged before because there was always lots and lots of cheap gas, traditionally about 3 yen per kWh. There are lots of freezing houses in Japan too of course, but the article is about the UK.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

-however you measure inflation doesn't really account for the cheap food going up, and it's going up by hundreds of percent.

This is true. I've been saying it on here for a while. The official percentage increases are meaningless. The real rises in the cost of food and basic goods have been dramatically larger. There are also shortages of supply.

Covid and political policies like Brexit have been breaking the supply chains of globalisation. We are flipping from a system that minimised costs to a system that maximises costs.

For nationalist politicians who crave the impossible dream of self-sufficiency and bans on migrant labour, any sacrifice is fine, but the increasing burden on ordinary people is crippling. There will be economic and political consequences.

The upward spiral of global growth was built on an optimised, globalised system. If governments continue with these policies, We will now flip to a downward spiral of increasing inflation and poverty.

Much of the EU depends upon Russian/Ukrainian energy supplies. The US will not be able to reroute supplies, long term, from the Middle East to break this dependency. Russia and the Ukraine are geographically sensible (if politically awkward) sources of supply. The US, NATO and Putin are going to have to grow up and talk to each other. If they throw their toys out the pram people will die of cold and there will be domestic political consequences across Europe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The bigger problem is obesity. A third of the adult population are dangerously overweight.

Same as the US, and these are where a lot of COVID deaths come from.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Many Brits keep their central heating on 24/7 and wear t-shirts indoors.

A lot of Americans do this in winter too, and not just the well-off, it's silly. Winter is winter, wear a sweater when you're at home.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

kurisupisuToday  07:48 am JST

Many Brits keep their central heating on 24/7 and wear t-shirts indoors.

You know this how? Checked them all have you?

Those who can afford it may do that but those who can't afford to eat won't be sitting at home wearing T shirts with the central heating on 24 hrs a day.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Colchester is just down the road from where I lived when I was young. Winters were windy, bitterly cold and wet. Snow added to the cold. We had no electricity yet in our house or the surrounding area, but we did have a coal-fired Raeburn stove in the kitchen which kept that room warm, and also heated the water. There was an open fire for coal or logs in the living room, where we dried out our shoes and roasted chestnuts. Looking back I guess we were close to the poverty line, but we dressed warmly, lived in those two rooms, and that was life; gloomy or cheerful people dealt with it in different ways. It sounds as if despite all our modern advances life has changed little there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are supermarkets in the UK that ae cheap to begin with and additionally discount older items to pennies.

Many Brits keep their central heating on 24/7 and wear t-shirts indoors.

Still room for economising in the UK for many.

Bojo has a JT account?

“Pull your socks up!”

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It sounds as if despite all our modern advances life has changed little there.

For better or worse, you can’t burn coal anymore. I do miss the toasting fork though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The above yet one more example of the failures of fossil capitalism

@PTownsend: For someone who complains that people misunderstand Communism, it's ironic that you seem to completely misunderstand capitalism. The problems you describe, the elite strangling the working class, only become a factor when the powers that be make it so. A powerful central government, which is necessitated by Communism at any scale beyond a village, makes this centralized power more likely.

Capitalism, at its core, is not an artificial social construct like the other -isms. It is simply what people do naturally, exchanging goods and services with their neighbors. The current situation is a result of reality finally catching up with bad government policies and unsustainable financial practices. Anyone who thinks price controls will make it better rather than much worse has a faulty understanding of economics. Tragically, that includes many people in power who make these decisions.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Capitalism, at its core, is not an artificial social construct like the other -isms. 

It is, actually.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Do what I do, burn old wood furniture that neighbors are throwing away…I bet plenty do already

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Me, living in a capitalist system: Capitalism rules.

Prices rise and wages stall among increasing homelessness and food shortages in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, the government of which is deeply pro-Capitalist -

Me: Socialism did this.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

40% of the UK energy is renewable.

I think that's about 40% of electricity, not total energy. Over 80% of UK homes use gas for heating.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think UK needs a more pragmatic form of government.

The pandemic has seen to that.

Without doubt the most venerable will require support.

Food banks are not even a medium term solution.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Food banks are not even a medium term solution.

lol food banks have exploded in the UK since the Conservative party instituted austerity.

Conservatives just hate the poor. It's a fact. You can tell through their actions.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Without doubt the most venerable will require support.

Bromide in the tea of an artist formerly known as prince?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Food Banks in the UK....

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8585/#:~:text=Food%20banks%20have%20existed%20in%20the%20UK%20for%20twenty%20years.&text=The%20Trussell%20Trust%20opened%20its,from%20them%20across%20the%20UK.

Food banks have existed in the UK for twenty years. The increase in the number of emergency food parcels distributed by food banks have accelerated over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

Whatever, Express sister, your political Tory association to a disdain to/for the poor,, is lamented subjugation of a blinkered defamation of the working class.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wish someone would give me free food. Of course people are going to use this service. Are they means tested? Can't afford to give their kids breakfast but no problem buying cigarettes and paying £60 a week for SKY sport on a new 60 inch TV.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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