Star comment: Government must help with cost of living

The pressure on many working families is enormous.

Cost of living crisis
Cost of living crisis

The cost of living will dominate the national agenda in coming years.

We are heading into challenging times where people cannot afford to heat their homes or eat properly. Children are going hungry, people are slipping below the breadline.

At a time when the political focus ought to be on stimulating the economy and helping those most in need, other challenges are emerging.

Rather than maintaining trade with our European neighbours, we have created a mountain of red tape that is causing cost and delay. We are on the brink of a trade war with Europe, that would have unedifying consequences.

The economy is not well placed. Post-pandemic growth is modest. Wages are not keeping pace with inflation. The costs of food and energy have spiralled beyond the means of many. Running a family car is becoming a luxury.

Action for Children described the levels of severe and persistent financial hardship it is seeing as being “among the worst” it can remember. The Royal College of Physicians says more than half the population has worse health due to the rising cost of living, with medics reporting some patients cannot afford to look after themselves.

For lower income families it is getting to the stage where serious life choices are being made, with food and heating having to be rationed. This is having an impact on people’s health. This is no scare story made for political capital. The pressure on many working families is enormous. And the calls for extra help to be made available is now coming from multiple objective sources. The Government must help. It cannot let people suffer.

The success story of Greggs continues. It provides good quality food in a no-nonsense way and at affordable prices.

As we look to save money, it is likely we will increasingly ditch the high-cost coffee shops and try out a latte from Greggs instead.

Many scorn at its dominance in our town and city centres, but Greggs is a success story and has created thousands of jobs. It should be applauded for its success. At a time of instability for many business, Greggs is surging ahead and providing stable employment for a sizeable workforce.

It has become part of the British culture, with the phrase ‘popping for a Greggs’ fitting into modern parlance. We need more business success stories at a time when the nation is struggling for good news.

Our High Streets need viable, successful businesses. Greggs is precisely that.

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