Cost of living crisis tightens as disposable income dr...

Cost of living crisis tightens as disposable income drops by £129 a month

13 November 2013

Women hurt twice as much by Tory cuts 

David Cameron and George Osborne’s cost of living crisis is strangling households, according to an independent survey showing a drop in disposable income of £129 a month since May this year.

The survey, involving 3,940 Unite members working across the economy, underlines how the much heralded `recovery' is passing ordinary working people by, with two thirds (66 per cent) reporting a drop in their disposable income over the last six months.

Health workers have experienced the biggest fall in spending power, with a massive £233 drop as government pay cuts and rising costs eat into family budgets.

Among the sexes, the government’s problems with women continue with them hit the hardest by the cost of living crisis suffering a drop of £190 month, nearly double the average for men of £95.

Rising food, soaring energy and housing costs are hitting people’s pockets as the government does nothing to cut fuel bills. Over half (53 per cent) of all respondents reported the biggest increase in the price of essentials being food, while a quarter said energy costs.

Pointing to the reality of the growing housing crisis, the survey also found that 62 per cent experienced hikes in their rent while one in four home owners said they were struggling with mortgage payments; neither group is helped in any way by the government's controversial ‘Help to Buy’ scheme.

Commenting, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “An economic recovery may be being enjoyed within the super-wealthy circles in which the prime minister moves, but it is passing ordinary people by. Back in the real world there is cost of living crisis strangling the finances of households across the nation.

“While the rich get richer and ordinary people face soaring costs, dropping income and with winter ahead, our most vulnerable will face the hideous dilemma of whether to heat or eat. 

“This country, remember, is the seventh richest on the planet - so why is it the only banks that are giving in this country are food banks?

“Now David Cameron has pledged that austerity is here to stay. He is laying siege to the living standards of the people who will be keeping the NHS going this winter and, if you are woman, you face double the squeeze.

“His government is irresponsibly oblivious to the struggles of ordinary people, governing for the few and not the many.

"This country is being walked into widespread impoverishment. Relief could be easily provided - like a cap on energy prices and a boost to the minimum wage to put money in people’s pockets - but we cannot expect this government to provide it.

“They are 100 per cent to blame for cost of living crisis sweeping households across Britain and we will not let them forget this.”

The survey was undertaken by independent social media specialists Mass1. They have been following Unite members since 2011 tracking the impact of austerity on their wages and lifestyles.

The survey identified early the shift away from the established supermarkets, as workers sought cheaper food and revealed the growing use of pay day loans to bridge the point in the month when the salary ran out, yet the next payment was at least a week away.


For further information please call Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 07967 665869

Mass1 is an independent research company. The survey was conducted with Unite members via text and phone. It is a weighted sample size of 3,940, weighted using Experian Mosaic and IBM SPSS.

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.