Are you middle income? Then watch out – you’re under attack! Average rent hit £1025 a month in London last week, around half of average household income. Nationally, rents average £713 a month.
If you spent half your income repaying a mortgage, you’d be classed as over-indebted, and someone, somewhere would intervene, but because you’re not interesting enough (sick pun), your squeezed middle will not burst the 0.5% trap.
0.5% interest rates are a trap because they are protecting some 800,000 mortgage holders from negative equity, whilst 3 million renters foot the bill. Meanwhile, the number of residential tenants is growing...
How else could property prices have continued to rise after the volume of sales almost halved in 2008? If you’re not on the ladder, you’re a sitting duck - ripe for the foie gras of overcrowding.
Depending on which economist you listen to (perhaps none, after such accurate crash predictions), inflation is due either to historically low interest rates or the flat-lining economy. Of course, the real news is that neither makes a difference, when your pay is consumed by staying afloat.
Energy, food, fuel, housing, has anyone put the water rates up yet? Anything and everything we need to survive has increased in price. But has it really?
Last week, in Nottingham, I saw park & ride for “only £5 a day”. The other month, in Coventry, I paid £2.50. Similarly, Arriva charges students in Birmingham £315 a year to get to college, while in the rest of the Midlands they pay £490 - a £175 premium to live outside the second city.
Then, there are wholesale energy prices that are lower than they were in 2008, yet consumers pay more in 2011. And what about the banks? No sooner had they received their kick in the teeth from last week’s Vickers report than the papers were full of their justifications for charges.
“Banks are businesses with shareholders, and they need to make a profit,” said Kevin Mountford from the very Moneysupermarket that refers people to the Samaritans for free debt advice. Yeah right, Kev. “So” busy paying for surfboards and ape suits, you forgot all about the specialist debt charities. Never mind that some poor sod might snuff it, waiting to speak to an adviser for whom you have not paid.
The rising costs of living? I see only the greed for need.
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