HARD-PRESSED Sun readers were yesterday served up a Black Thursday of economic doom.
Recession is coming, interest rates have been increased to 1.75 per cent and inflation is forecast to hit a punishing 13 per cent.
6Dental nurse Laura Gregory, 35, from Gravesend, Kent, says she is ‘scared’ to fill up her petrol tank after the cost of fuel rocketedCredit: JOHN McLELLAN
Yet, with a full-blown cost-of-living crisis now raging, what were the politicians and the regulators doing yesterday? Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer was on holiday and has no ideas to offer anyway.
Caretaker Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi was absent from his desk, the PM is on a holiday of his own, and the Government is paralysed by the leadership contest to replace him – which still has the best part of five weeks to go.
Meanwhile Ofgem – which is supposed to protect consumers – busied itself by announcing that gas and electricity bills will now go up every THREE months rather than the current six.
The Sun’s Squeeze Team has spoken to readers who are struggling to cope.
We urge all of these organisations to read these real-world stories of how Sun readers are struggling to cope, and come up with an actual plan to help them – FAST . . .
DENTAL nurse Laura Gregory, 35, from Gravesend, Kent, says she is “scared” to fill up her petrol tank after the cost of fuel rocketed.
The single mum to daughters Summer, 16, and Rossy, ten, earns £1,140 a month. Gas and electricity used to cost her £100 a month but now price increases have seen that rise to £140 and it is set to go up again in October.
Laura said: “I have no idea how I’m going to find the extra money. I don’t know what else I can cut down on.
“I used to spend £35 per week on little top-up shops and then £150 on a big monthly shop.
“But a recent top-up shop at Morrisons cost me £70 and I only walked out with two small bags.
“I don’t buy expensive stuff and only go for what’s on offer. If what’s on my shopping list isn’t on offer then the kids have to do without.”
INTENSIVE care nurse Mandy Coles, 38, from Tavistock, Devon, said she barely sees her 51-year-old husband Tony as she works all hours to make ends meet.
Mandy, mum to nine-year-old son Taylor, said: “I love my job, it’s so rewarding and I do love giving back.
6Intensive care nurse Mandy Coles, 38, from Tavistock, Devon, said she barely sees her 51-year-old husband Tony as she works all hours to make ends meetCredit: Neil Hope
“But I’m working 50-hour weeks plus overtime to afford the price hikes and Tony and I are like ships in the night.
“The last two nights I haven’t got home until 9pm after starting work at 7am. Taylor is waiting up because he hasn’t seen me all day and all he sees is Mummy working. There’s no balance.”
She earns £30,000 a year, plus £10,000 as a part-time Slimming World consultant, while Tony brings in £25,000 as a factory operative, but the family is feeling the pinch.
She said: “I have quite a small mortgage — I was paying £250 a month but it’s risen to £320 since January. My utility bills have already gone up by at least a third.
“I’m already working all hours and the Government isn’t doing anything to help.
“They’re offering nurses a four per cent raise but that’s not even going to come close to covering the bills.”
PENSIONER Lizzie Rowe, 67, of Fenham, Newcastle, worries how she will afford to heat her home this winter.
She lives off her state pension and her earnings as a self-employed artist which come to about £12,000 a year.
6Pensioner Lizzie Rowe, 67, of Fenham, Newcastle, worries how she will afford to heat her home this winterCredit: NNP
She says her food bill has risen by a quarter, costing an extra £60 a month, while her gas bill has also soared.
Lizzie said: “I’m paying more to buy the same items.
“At the moment, I am able to live off my pension as it’s warm. But it’s October to January I worry about.”
ACCOUNT executive Theo Reid, 24, from South London, said: “I am not too affected as I live with my parents, but I worry about the future.
“Housing, especially in London, is already so unaffordable and this crisis will just make it so much harder to save up and afford a home.
6Account executive Theo Reid, 24, from South London, says he worries about saving up to afford his own homeCredit: supplied
“A lot of it is due to the Ukraine war but I think the energy companies are profiteering, with Shell and BP having record profits.
“We need to find other sources of energy.”
AS a passenger assistance worker, Mark Lambert, 51, of West Cornforth, County Durham, helps children who travel by taxi or minibus.
He has been forced to sell his belongings at car boot sales after his energy bill rose from £85 a month to £200.
6Mark Lambert, 51, of West Cornforth, County Durham, has been forced to sell his belongings at car boot salesCredit: NNP
Mark, who has just been diagnosed with diabetes, said: “Life is a constant struggle and things will only get worse.
“After bills are paid I have nothing left. Anything spare goes into the meter.
“This weekend I’ll have to go without any gas because I can’t afford to put anything in.”
PART-time travel agency worker Leyla Mirza, 29, from Glasgow, said she can’t afford to grow her family because of the increasing cost of living.
The mum of one said the extortionate food prices and soaring bills have forced her to put her life plans on hold.
6Part-time travel agency worker Leyla Mirza, 29, from Glasgow, said she can’t afford to grow her family because of the increasing cost of livingCredit: Alan MacGregor Ewing
Leyla said: “I fell pregnant with my second child but I had a miscarriage.
“In all honesty, I don’t know how we would have been able to provide for another baby.
“My partner and I decided to put a hold on growing our family because we simply can’t afford it.
“Shopping for nappies, clothes and other essentials has spiked from £60 or £70 a week to around £100.
“My partner works full-time but I can only afford to do a part-time job. If I was in full-time employment I’d need to pay for a nursery, and there is no chance we could afford that.
“The prices for child care are rocket high.”