As the cost of living in the UK continues to climb at its fastest rate in decades, the price of a number of everyday items and necessities have also been rising.
While inflation soared to 5.4% – the highest rate since 1992 – last month, the price cap for energy bills is also expected to rise by an estimated 46-56% in April.
Experts have warned that the cost of living will only get higher in the coming months in what has been dubbed a ‘national crisis’, and have urged the government to act ‘immediately’.
But what exactly will be getting more expensive and why?
Here’s everything you need to know:
Perhaps the most talked about aspect of the whole crisis is the looming cost of energy bills, which are expected to soar by over 50% in April, adding as much as £600 to the annual cost of the average UK household.
Provider Octopus Energy states that the reason for the price rise is down to the cost of energy being bought on the global markets being three times higher than it was a year ago. Major economies such as the US, China, Europe and India are all believed to be impacted by this price rise.
Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis has called upon the government to ‘act now’, saying the looming energy crisis will force millions of households to choose between ‘freezing or starving’.
To combat the rising costs, Lewis has recommended getting a fixed tariff that is no more than 40% above the price cap, improving home insulation, using a smart meter and exploring benefit options if you’re struggling to pay your bills.
Food and clothing
Supply issues caused by Brexit and the Covid pandemic have resulted in massive price increases for food, groceries and clothing.
A recent Twitter thread by campaigner Jack Monroe highlighted the cost hike in a number of common supermarket items such as a bag of rice, which cost 45p for kilogram bag last year. Today it’s £1 for 500g, a 344% price increase. Monroe also pointed out that a loaf of bread, which once cost 45p, now costs 58p, which is a price increase of 29%.
The ONS has confirmed that food and drink prices lifted by 4.2% year on year in December, while clothes shops also put up prices by an average 4.2%.
Alternatively, retailer Next warned that prices will rise by as much as 6% by next autumn and winter, while online retailer ASOS said it had increased prices in the ‘low to mid-single digit’ range.
While the cost of rail travel has been steadily increasing for the last decade, they’re expected to become even more costly from March 1st, when ticket prices in England will increase by as much as 3.8% – the steepest increase since January 2013.
Increases are normally implemented on the first working day of every year, but have been delayed due to the Covid pandemic.
Demand for rail travel is also more than 40% below pre-Covid levels.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has previously called out the rising cost of train journeys in the North, with him last year proposing a set-fare system that would have ‘the potential to elevate’ millions of Northern residents.
Phone and broadband bills
Thanks to an increase in data usage during the pandemic, the cost of phone and broadband bills are also expected to increase in the coming months.
Provider BT announced a price hike of more than 9% from the end of March for most customers, with those affected paying an extra £3.50 a month – or £42 annually – on average for their phone and broadband bills.
Working from home, online education and increased TV streaming have all increased demands on the company’s network, with a 90% rise in broadband usage since 2018, and a 79% increase on mobile phones since 2019, the company said.
Greater Manchester town officially named one of the happiest places to live in UK
A Greater Manchester town has been named among the 20 happiest places to live in the UK, alongside a couple of other North West spots.
Altrincham was placed in the top 20 of Britain’s happiest places to live in an annual survey, coming in at number 17 in Rightmove’s survey.
St Ives, a seaside town in Cornwall, took the number one spot, while Galashiels in Scotland came in a respectable second.
Other North West areas in the top 20 were Northwich (16) and Macclesfield (18).
Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index asked more than 21,000 people their thoughts on where they live.
Each area is ranked on factors like whether people feel there is a sense of belonging, local amenities, whether there is a community spirit and the proximity to green spaces.
According to Rightmove, these are Britain’s happiest places to live in 2022 (including the average house price and average asking monthly rental price):
1) St Ives, South West – £523,731, £1,152
2) Galashiels, Scotland – £153,546, £530
3) Woodbridge, East of England – £481,978, £1,196
4) Hexham, North East – £262,265, £810
5) Perth, Scotland – £179,410, £812
6) Harrogate, Yorkshire and the Humber – £381,124, £1,327
7) Anglesey, Wales – £324,048, £766
8) Bury St Edmunds, East of England – £334,160, £1,368
9) Stirling, Scotland – £197,075, £990
10) Cirencester, South West, £382,065 – £1,331
11) Richmond-upon-Thames, London – £1,153,347, £3,931
12) Falmouth, South West – £373,752, £1,289
13) Monmouth, Wales – £331,844, £1,104
14) Leamington Spa, West Midlands – £383,553, £1,274
15) Worcester, West Midlands – £286,250, £1,059
16) Northwich, North West – £246,995, £942
17) Altrincham, North West – £615,246, £2,297
18) Macclesfield, North West – £292,078, £1,146
19) Newbury, South East – £380,842, £1,364
20) Llandudno, Wales – £260,245, £760
Northern to start using new technology to catch train fare dodgers
‘This technology will be invaluable for our gate line and revenue protection colleagues’
Northern has announced that they will be bringing in some brand new technology to catch train fare dodgers.
Britain’s second largest train operator is planning to install the system within station barriers at ‘known hotspots’, the BBC reports.
The technology will automatically detect whether a ticket is valid, and alert rail staff for any additional checks, or if the customer has the right railcard.
According to Northern, around 180 fare dodgers were caught in a single day when they trialled the system at Manchester Victoria in November.
Northern’s Customer and Commercial Director Mark Powles said: “This technology will be invaluable for our gate line and revenue protection colleagues whose job it is to ensure ticket checks are carried out quickly and efficiently.
“Unfortunately, we know that a small minority of customers try to exploit the automated nature of barrier checks to travel on tickets they know they’re not eligible to use.”
Powles added that the kit was ‘very easy’ to install, saying it could be: “deployed to known hotspots across the whole network to help tackle this fraudulent activity”.
The Department for Transport confirmed last month that anyone travelling on a train without a ticket can be fined £100 from January 23rd, rising from £20.
Man, 33, charged following attempted kidnapping of schoolgirl
A 33-year-old has been arrested and charged
Police have charged a man, following the release of CCTV footage featuring a car used in three attempted kidnappings around Salford.
A man driving the vehicle attempted to force a 15-year-old girl into the car at a bus stop in Monton on Monday, November 21st.
Detectives also believe the same man tried to abduct another girl earlier that same day, as well as a third teenager five days previous.
Officers have confirmed that Sean Anthony Gillings (06/09/1989) of no fixed abode has been charged, following an appeal to the public.
This appeal resulted in the arrest of 33-year-old Gillings, who was then questioned and charged on Tuesday November 29th.
He also remains on bail for the other two attempt kidnaps, while further investigations are ongoing.
Gillings was remanded in custody yesterday, Wednesday November 30th, to appear at Manchester Crown Square Court on Wednesday January 4th 2023.
Police previously confirmed that a 33-year-old man was arrested by officers on Monday November 28th, on suspicion of three counts of attempted kidnap.
According to Greater Manchester Police, the victims have been left ‘extremely shaken up’.
Officers identified the vehicle in the footage as a black Vauxhall Astra with a silver cover on the driver’s side wing mirror.
Detective Inspector Chris Horsfield, of GMP’s Salford CID, previously said: “Although we have made this arrest, we are still very much looking to speak to anyone who may have information or dashcam footage, which could help us to establish the circumstances.
“We understand that the local community will be concerned but we are doing all we can to solve this investigation.
“I’d urge anyone who knows anything at all to please get in touch as soon as possible. In particular we are interested in the movements of a Black Vauxhall Astra 08 plate with a silver driver’s wing mirror cover; the passenger side is black.”
Police believe the incidents happened at the following times:
- Liverpool Street, Salford, between Fitzwarren Street and Albion Way on November 16th, between 7:45-8:20pm
- Mossfield Road and Ackworth Road, Swinton, on November 21st, between 8-9am
- Rocky Lane, Monton Green and Monton High Street on November 21st, between 6-7pm