READERS' LETTER: Look after the many, not just the few
With Christmas over and being one of the most expensive periods of the year for most people, will 2019 get any better for us all ?
On December 19, the UK Government’s Office for National Statistics [ONS] released the latest retail price index [RPI] figure. It shows that prices are up 3.2 per cent from a year ago.
With fuel and light continuing to rise - 8.7 per cent as winter sets in as we start to use more. Oil and other fuels are up 20.1 per cent over the last year. Electricity costs are nine per cent more and the price of gas has gone up at more than twice the rate of RPI, 7. 5 per cent.
Some of our home expenses that are impossible to avoid have also been creeping up at alarming rates. Dwelling insurance and ground rent is up 8.5 per cent. Council tax and rates are up 4.9 per cent.For those who own their own homes, mortgage interest payments are also biting hard.
Is there any wonder our local High Streets are feeling the brunt as the demise continues and shops close?
Locally, I was in Spalding town centre on Christmas Eve and asked myself where has our market town gone? Considering how the normal hussle and bussle used to be, it was sad to see the town so dead. It is all very well having out of town outlets, but there should be a better balance as our market town needs urgent re-investment so there is more on offer and people do not need to go out of town and stay away from the local amenities
There has to be a fairer share of funding here as the central government cuts are bringing some local councils to their knees.
There are still a few independent retail businesses which I support all year round, but as the demise gets worse, the situation will only get harder for these great little outlets as the footfall is reduced. But we are not the only town that is feeling the effects of all the uncertainty.
Perhaps some of the issues I have mentioned would be resolved if living standards were not under so much threat and the country could deliver work that pays.
People on better terms and conditions instead of zero hours contracts would help with the local economy. Over 900,000 people on zero hours is a shocking aspect throughout the country.
Nationally, with the current shambles regarding the Brexit negotiations, I can imagine the economy will be on pause until the current political phase is resolved.
This government has increased homelessness, attacked welfare benefits, cut funding for our NHS, education and policing whilst giving the wealthy tax cuts. On top of all this the PM has spent the last two years focused on internal division instead of getting the country a good Brexit deal.
So a wobbly start to 2019, and austerity has not worked. We have to fight back and campaign for a better deal for the many, not the few, in 2019.