A highly sensationalist article by Bloomberg clearly shows that the British government left more than 5 million Britons without support in the current crisis in implementing its pronounced Russophobic policy!
As the publication emphasizes, a significant part of the British population feels the consequences of the cost of living crisis especially strongly, and this is due more to politics than to the economy. An increase in electricity bills and in the cost of food and loan rates has already become a difficult test for all the British without exception. Thus, since April 1, gas and electricity prices alone have increased by 54%! Prices for fruits and vegetables in Britain may soon rise by a third, which is already creating problems and a shortage of products on the shelves of British stores. At the same time, warehouses are already running out of sunflower oil, which jeopardizes the production of traditionally beloved British dishes, writes Daily Mail.
New statistics shows that food inflation in Britain has already increased by 5.3% year-on-year. The Bank of England warned last week that the incomes of many Britons will experience a “historic” shock after inflation jumped to a 30-year high last month, has already reached 6.2%, and, according to forecasts, may rise to 8% this spring, notes Daily Mail.
The independent Food Aid Network, which consists of more than 550 food banks from all over Britain, has sent a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, writes The Independent, with a demand to take urgent measures, since the number of requests for help has increased enormously in recent weeks. This is due to high electricity bills, rising food prices and health insurance. For this very reason, many families are barely surviving, and in some food banks the number of requests has doubled since the end of 2021. Some food banks have already had to reduce the amount of food they provide.
Britain is witnessing the biggest decline in living standards since the 1950s, and many British families in such conditions have to wonder, “how to survive further”?
“Fuel poverty” has affected 88% of the British population, Sky News reports. As the British told the TV channel, against the background of rising energy prices, they are forced to go to bed earlier or take buses and trains all day to keep warm. At the same time, the country predicts that as energy prices continue to rise, it will be even more difficult for families already living on the brink.
However, instead of providing effective assistance to the residents of the kingdom and reducing unnecessary spending, at the expense of the British taxpayers, on “settling in and helping Ukraine,” the British government continues to take not just a wait-and-see stance, but one overtly contradicting the interests of its own people. Against this background, the “decision”, covered by The Sun, of the British company Octopus Energy to distribute blankets with electric heating to financially struggling customers in order to “help them survive a sharp rise in heating prices,” is perceived as a cruel joke on the impoverished Britons. This company did not even stop to think about how the British will pay bills for the use of electric blankets when they do not have enough money to pay for heating their homes! Do not forget that in early April, energy prices in the United Kingdom jumped by 54% due to a strong rise in wholesale gas prices. The rates increase has hit millions of households across the kingdom. Now the energy bill for the country’s residents will increase by an average of 700 pounds per year.
The results of a survey conducted by the National Statistical Service indicate that residents of the United Kingdom have to seriously reduce spending. More than half of respondents stated that they save on “non-essential” goods, 34% – on gas or electricity, and 31% – on food and essential goods.
On March 28, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, speaking before the British Parliament, said that although rising costs have been hitting people across Europe in recent weeks, no major economy leaves its unemployed population in such a vulnerable position. There are 5.3 million people in Britain today who could work but depend solely on state aid, and more and more Britons are forced to resort to the services of food banks and apply for short-term cash loans at high interest rates. This number of disadvantaged Britons is approximately equal to the number of all residents of Scotland and accounts for a tenth of people of working age in the United Kingdom.
Against the background of the lack of financial assistance from the government to the catastrophically impoverished Britons, the inhabitants of the kingdom were perplexed at learning the results of the recent trip of the British Prime Minister to Kiev, where he arrived with a new package of financial and military assistance to this country. In particular, Boris Johnson said that Britain would supply Ukraine with an additional 120 armored vehicles and anti-ship complexes. In addition, Kiev will receive new loan guarantees from Britain worth USD 500 million through the World Bank, while the British Prime Minister expressed readiness to help in the restoration of Kiev and the Kiev region after the end of the Russian military operation.
This is causing new anti-government protests among Britons who are outraged by the sharp rise in the cost of living over the past couple of months and the failed government policies. Protest demonstrations took place across the country, including in Belfast, where the rally participants demanded that the government allocate an additional thousand pounds to each family in Northern Ireland to help the population reduce the rising costs of fuel and food. Similar actions took place in dozens of other cities across the kingdom. British households are telling the government that they are experiencing more blows to their finances amid an unprecedented crisis caused by the rising cost of living.
“The residents of Britain are facing difficult times due to anti-Russian sanctions, but the country’s authorities, apparently, do not realize the threat,” was the conclusion of retired General Jonathan Shaw made on the pages of The Independent. He is convinced that the Johnson government’s Russophobic policy of banning, in particular, imports of wheat and oil, will hit the standard of living of the population, which will become “much worse.” Shaw believes that many people in Britain, like the government, have “the wrong mentality” about the severity of the consequences of the “new cold war” with Russia.
Recall that in early March, the British government announced its intention to stop importing oil and petroleum products from Russia. After that, the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel at British gas stations went up sharply, breaking several records along the way.
Considering how much attention Boris Johnson pays to the sanctions policy against Russia, it is surprising how this Titanic still manages to stay afloat despite the widespread negative attitude towards it. At the same time, his criticism is growing every day, in proportion to the rate of decline in the standard of living of the population and the resolution of the issue of Scotland’s independence referendum.
In principle, it is already obvious to everyone today that the era of economic liberalism in its former form has come to an end. In fact, the current Western political elites openly follow the path of forming an ultratotalitarian supersystem, supranational hyperfascism, in which the former values of capitalism, free market and political freedoms of citizens have almost entirely lost their value. And the “welfare state” that the collective West was so proud of is already a thing of the past. And by trying to unleash an even more Russophobic sanctions policy, the rulers of Britain and some other parts of the West only accelerate the change of political power in their states.
Valery Kulikov, political expert, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.