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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv in ‘solidarity with the Ukrainian people’, reports The Daily Telegraph. As part of the visit, Johnson promised Ukraine another military support and £385 million in World Bank loans.
The crisis in the cost of living in the UK will hit the 5.3 million unemployed Brits who are left without the necessary support from the government, according to Bloomberg. On April 1, gas and electricity prices in the country rose by 54%, and social payments increased by only 3.1%. The British government has left more than 5 million unemployed Britons without support during the crisis
The crisis in the cost of living in the UK will hit the 5.3 million unemployed Brits who are left without the necessary support from the government. Increasing electricity bills, rising food costs and rising interest rates on loans are becoming an ordeal for all Britons without exception. However, some people in the UK will feel the effects of the cost-of-living crisis more than others, and this is due more to politics than economics.
On 28 March, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (an ethnic Indian of East African roots) said in the British Parliament that he had decided to support working people, not those who cannot find work, acknowledging that the government could funnel this money into the social security system, but will not.
It is this group that could be hit hardest by the current crisis, having already weathered the shocks of Brexit, the pandemic and the decade of austerity following the global financial crash. While rising costs are hitting people across Europe, no major economy is leaving its unemployed population in such a vulnerable position.
There are 5.3 million people in the UK who could work but depend solely on public assistance. This number is approximately equal to the number of all inhabitants of Scotland and constitutes a tenth of the people of working age in the United Kingdom. However, higher prices compared to the increase in social transfers this year means that more Britons are forced to turn to food banks and apply for short-term cash loans at high-interest rates.
Food and electricity bills, with gas and electricity prices up 54% since April 1, now make up the bulk of the British budget. At the same time, social payments increased by only 3.1%, which is less than half of the increase in the minimum wage in the country. In this regard, the impact on the standard of living of those who rely on state benefits can be five times stronger than the impact on the employed population. In the coming year, the real income of the British as a whole will fall more than at any time since the start of accounting in the 1950s, according to the government.
‘We have a very low-income replacement rate compared to almost every other European country. We are at the very bottom of the standings,’ said Morgan Wild, head of family policy, welfare and operations for Citizens Advice, adding that it remains to be seen ‘how bad things are.’
Bloomberg, citing data from the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation for 2021, writes that for unemployed people, the UK is already starkly different from other European countries. According to them, a single childless resident of the United Kingdom who lost his job, where he received the average salary for the country, can count on only 15% of his income when applying for help under the universal credit system introduced by the government in 2013. In Germany and France, where benefits are more closely related to seniority, these figures are 59% and 68% respectively. Even if housing subsidies are taken into account, in the UK state aid covers only 38% of previously received income.
According to the news agency, it all comes down to politics. And after the adoption of the package of measures, Sunak’s rating among voters began to decline rapidly. According to a YouGov poll conducted on April 4-5, that is, even before it became clear that his wife Akshata Murthy, a billionaire, was not domiciled in the UK, about 57% of those surveyed were sceptical about him.
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The increase in payments for those who are not working is calculated based on the inflation rate for the previous year. Based on the current inflation forecast, next year they will rise by 7.5%, which will be the largest increase in history. In this connection, experts urge to transfer part of the increase in benefits from next year to this year. Source
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