Even the bosses’ preferred measure of inflation, the CPI, hit 7 percent recently showing the scale of the cost of living crisis.
Prices are rising at an average of 9 percent a year according to the most accurate measure of inflation, the RPI index.
Most types of food saw annual increases above 5 percent, including bread, meat, milk and fruit.
Gas prices were 28.3 percent higher in March than a year ago, while electricity was 19.2 percent higher. And this is before the soaring increases announced in April.
So if your pay, benefits or pension are going up less than that — as they are for nearly everyone — then you are taking a hit. For example, if you are on benefits and have just had the 3.1 percent “rise” imposed this week, in reality it’s a cut of nearly 6 percent. That’s a disaster for people who are already on the edge of being able to manage.
Official statistics say in January pay excluding bonuses grew by an annual rate of 4.1 percent. But the Resolution Foundation’s analysis shows these numbers were boosted by the end of the furlough scheme in September.
Furloughed workers received 80 percent or less of their usual pay, boosting growth rates as they returned to full pay.
After the latest inflation numbers came out, Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham spoke of the need to respond. “The double whammy of soaring inflation and falling wages is creating an historic cost of living crisis for workers,” she said. “The bankers and big business are trying to force workers to pay the price for the pandemic.”
Graham rightly added, “The only way workers can fight for ‘a better share of the pie’ is by building union strength and the power of collective bargaining. It’s not complicated.”