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Is it over? Is the cost crisis history?

Is it over? The question of the moment. Inflation is falling. Interest rates too (soon) (hopefully). Economy growing again. So, is the cost crisis history?

data Insights May

Citizens Advice gives its latest view based on thousands of client consultations. The charity’s public Data Insights at 11am Wednesday 15 May is open online for everyone. Register for Is the Cost-of-Living Crisis Really Over? here. Hear and contribute to the big questions:

  • Importance of cost-of-living issues in the upcoming general election?
  • Actions to raise living standards for working people (with Kate Bell of the TUC)?
  • Real-time data and the reality of claims the crisis is easing? 
  • Will the Spring Budget and Autumn Statement lift people out of negative budget?
  • What should a new government do?
Tales of two recoveries

Our analysis of households with serious budget problems will provide context for competing tales of recovery.

In the first, higher than expected growth figures sparked exuberant headlines:

  • ‘At last, UK shares seem to have ‘got their major back’ Financial Times Weekend, 11/05/24.
  • ‘Economy’s going gangbusters’ Daily Mail, 11/05/24
  • ‘Fastest GDP growth for more than two years powers British economy‘ Evening Standard, 10/05/24

In the second, less upbeat comments warned against overdoing the feel-good:

  • “For many people, who are still subject to rising prices – very large ones in some cases – the cost of living crisis has not been extinguished by the fall in inflation.” The Sunday Times, Economic Outlook, 29/04/24
  • “Despite the easing of cost-of-living pressures, food prices are 25% higher than they were when Russia invaded Ukraine just over two years ago, while prices overall have increased by 14%.” The Guardian, Economics Editor, 07/05/24
  • “Inflation may be coming down but it’s wrong to think the cost-of-living crisis is over. It has evolved.’ The Work Foundation 08/05/24.

We shall see. But as so often, a single answer – crisis over or not over – won’t be much help.

Local insights

In Surrey and the South East generally, we hope a majority of families can focus on the upbeat. Yet local data of all kinds show large numbers in difficulty. Reporting February’s Data Insight event we spoke of Alarm bells for politicians. And in the year to last month Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell advisers helped clients with over 5000 core cost-of-living issues (chart).

CoL Issues April 24

Register for Is the Cost-of-Living Crisis Really Over? 15 May 2024 1100

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