Tag Archives: food

How is the cost of living crisis affecting people near you? Now you can find out

Food: have you cut back on your supply because of the cost of living crisis?

I was having a look around the TUC (Trades Union Congress) website while I was putting together the article on key workers leaving public services due to low pay – and found this.

It’s a snapshot summary of how the cost of living crisis is affecting people – by UK constituency.

I live in Brecon and Radnorshire, where:

  • One in eight people have missed meals or gone without food.
  • Two in five people have cut back on food spending.
  • And a whopping half of the population have cut back on the amount of hot water, heating or electricity we use.

I can confirm that I myself have done one of the above; both I and Mrs Mike have taken advantage of the unseasonally warm (climate change?) autumn to leave the central heating off altogether – so far.

But never mind me; how about you?

Check the situation where you live by visiting the link directly below.

Source: HOW IS THE COST OF LIVING AFFECTING PEOPLE IN YOUR LOCAL AREA?

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The Pound has plummeted; now interest rates will skyrocket. Here’s how it harms YOU

The grinning Kwarteng: do you think he intended to cause the chaos he has inflicted on the United Kingdom, and was actually laughing to himself about it during the Queen’s funeral?

Up close and very personal.

If you’ve got a mortgage, the amount you pay towards it depends on interest rates.

If they are going through the roof, then you may suddenly find that you don’t have enough to pay for your home – and, shortly afterwards, that you don’t have a home to live in.

Remember, the lower Pound means food will cost a lot more than it does already; we import 40 per cent of our food from the EU.

Now watch this:

The keyword from this is: unsustainable.

The answer, if the grinning Kwasi Kwarteng is still determined to avoid a windfall tax on energy firms’ profits, is higher taxes or cuts to public services – and he has cut the 45 per cent tax bracket.

So you can expect the axe to fall on public services – probably before the end of the year. That will mark the end of the UK’s society as you know it. Bye, Britain, it was nice knowing you (back in the 1970s before the Thatcher rot set in)!

Unaffordable food, housing (and energy, let’s not forget); a savage attack on public services to come. Is this what you wanted?

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Milk, cheese and egg costs push food inflation to highest point in 14 years

Is this a good time to turn vegan?

The cost of milk, cheese and eggs is soaring – which strikes This Writer as odd. Doesn’t the UK produce plenty of these foodstuffs? Aren’t we now a major exporter of cheese, thanks to Liz Truss?

Yet there seems to be a shortage and it’s being blamed on the war in Ukraine. One has to query how that will play if the current situation there continues and Russia is pushed out of that country altogether.

Meanwhile, we’re being told that headline inflation has fallen because petrol and diesel prices have fallen.

But the UK’s situation remains precarious because all these elements are dependent on situations in foreign countries that cannot be controlled here.

It casts a long shadow over the globalism that Conservatives have pushed on us since the 1980s.

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FOOD drives double-digit inflation figure as Tory UK plummets into recession

Inflation has hit double figures for the first time in 40 years – and this time the driver is not energy bills but the cost of staple food products.

It has soared to 10.1 per cent due to a 12 per cent increase in the cost of what most people consider staples: bread, cereal, eggs, milk and cheese. The increase in these items’ prices was three times that of their nearest rival.

The UK is currently in a “calm before the storm” moment as we await a rise of around 80 per cent in the energy price cap in October.

A drought now sweeping Europe is expected to make matters even worse, affecting trade and crop yields to push food prices up even further.

Ultimately, inflation is expected to peak at 13 per cent or more, meaning people will no longer have money to spend in the economy because their earnings will not cover the amount they will be asked to spend on necessities: housing (mortgage or rent), food, water, and power.

Without that spending, the economy will contract, and a recession lasting more than a year is currently being predicted in which many people are likely to lose their jobs – compounding the crisis even further.

These are all outcomes that the UK’s Conservative government has created.

The rise in food prices is a consequence of Brexit and increased border controls that the Tories fuelled.

The energy crisis has happened because the Tories pandered to donors from the fossil fuel industry rather than investing in green energy, generated within this country. Energy is also a natural monopoly that should never have been privatised by Margaret Thatcher.

And the water crisis is a consequence of privatising that natural monopoly. Instead of investing in improving infrastructure, greedy executives have maximised their profits with large dividend payouts, bolstered by the sale of reservoirs to foreign firms.

Both the privatised energy and water systems are majority-owned by businesses based abroad, many of them wholly-owned by foreign governments.

Or so it seems to This Writer.

Worse is the fact that the Tories are determined to deny that they did anything wrong.

And they’re absolutely refusing to accept the urgent need to re-nationalise these privatised utilities that have failed us all so badly; they are cash cows for Tory donors and the party likes their cash.

Sadly, it’s a myopic, short-term view. The economy will collapse because of it.

Source: Double-digit inflation marks another grim milestone as recession looms

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Boris Johnson to launch food strategy: work harder for less

Soil degradation: It’s a huge threat to UK farmers but Boris Johnson seems to be encouraging them to over-farm their land and ruin it.

Boris Johnson really is the lawmaker of diminishing returns, isn’t he?

He’s about to launch his new ‘Grow for Britain’ plan – the UK’s first food strategy since the country was in the midst of rationing 75 years ago –

Rationing. Doesn’t that say everything about the poverty of Johnson’s thinking?

and it’s all about working harder for no material gain.

The food strategy… will say farmers need to be more productive and that planning rules should be relaxed to make it easier to convert land into farms to grow fruit and vegetables.

The document points out that currently, 57 per cent of British produce comes from 33 per cent of agricultural land – showing that farms could be more productive.

So – what, Johnson wants to over-farm our land, reducing it to uselessness in a few years’ time?

The strategy is also expected to contain plans to solve the migrant worker shortage, including by giving new seasonal worker visas to poultry workers on British turkey farms and replacing fruit pickers from eastern Europe with robots.

Is this the thin end of a wedge that will take jobs away from working people in the UK, increasing poverty, homelessness, lawlessness and illness?

Even though Britain’s climate would previously have prevented the growing of many crops, farmers now use “a new generation of sustainable and efficient greenhouses” which “provides opportunities to reduce our reliance on overseas production”, the strategy is to say.

Monday’s strategy will announce a “focus on pioneering more organic-based fertilisers” that are less reliant on global supply chains.

But the strategy will not announce any immediate support for households, focusing instead on “longer-term measures to support a resilient, healthier and more sustainable food system”

… but not a resilient, healthier and more sustainable population.

This is a short-term people-pleaser to win more votes for a prime minister with no idea how to fix the real problems underpinning the current crises destabilising the UK.

He’s just trying to shore up his own position and win a few votes from gullible people in rural constituencies like Tiverton & Honiton.

Source: Boris Johnson unveils ‘grow for Britain’ plan

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The UK’s food bank shame will not be solved by Tories like Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson (right) with his leader Boris Johnson: no wonder Anderson thinks he can get away with a Big Lie when his boss is the biggest liar of them all.

This MP is a disgrace to his Ashfield constituency.

He stood up in the House of Commons and admitted that his local food bank won’t give out desperately-needed parcels to people unless they sign up to take a course in budgeting and cooking skills – but you’ll notice he never said anything about whether such courses were effective in reducing demand.

Mr Anderson invited MPs to visit a food bank in his Nottinghamshire constituency where he said people “have to register for a budgeting course and a cooking course” if they receive parcels.

“We show them how to cook cheap and nutritious meals on a budget,” he added. “We can make a meal for about 30p a day and this is cooking from scratch.”

“There’s not this massive use for food banks in this country. We’ve got generation after generation who can not cook properly… they can not budget.”

Here’s video of what he said, along with some of the more well-informed comments by opposition MPs:

As usual, though, the best commentary on this came from the food writer and blogger Jack Monroe, who slated Anderson’s comment in an LBC interview:

“It’s not a lack of skills or knowledge that is causing people to struggle in food poverty in this country…it’s the lack of resources, it’s the lack of finances.

“It’s not that people don’t know what to do with a bag of pasta, it’s that they don’t have the 29p to buy it in the first place.

“Helping somebody conditional on them saying ‘you know what, I’m a terrible kind of poor person, this is all my own fault, please teach me how to be better at being poor’, is disgusting, actually.

“In his own constituency one in three live in poverty…I don’t think he’s the one to be touting the solution.”

Jack, who is a genuine national treasure, went further on the Cooking on a Bootstrap website, reminding us all of the main reasons people can’t afford food any more – and the fatal results of these Conservative Party policies:

If the ‘let them eat 30p meals’ brigade were really concerned for the welfare of people suffering, and I mean suffering, under the worst cost of living crisis this country has known for decades, they would take heed from the thousands of stories of people who have died at the hands of the callous DWP machine, and the people who enthusiastically grease its sharp and unforgiving cogs.

Stephanie Bottrill, a mother of three who was so concerned about the impact that the bedroom tax would have on her family, that she walked out in front of an articulated lorry.

Phillipa Day, whose overdose resulted in a coroners report stating that the flaws in her PIP assessment led to her death. A nine day inquest uncovered multiple failings by both the DWP and the private sector contractor Capita in the handling of her case. The coroner issued the DWP a PFD report – Prevention Of Future Deaths – which was supposed to force them to make significant changes to the system in order to prevent this entirely needless tragedy from ever happening again. Did they implement the recommended changes? Of course not. Not then, and not after multiple more coroners reports and PFDs from multiple subsequent deaths in similar circumstances.

Jodey Whiting took her own life after her benefits were stopped. Her family received a letter endorsing the DWPs actions, incorrectly stating that Jodey was fit to work, and mailed it to them as their daughter lay in a mortuary, awaiting her untimely and again, utterly preventable, burial. Following her death, and with his life thrown into utter turmoil at the loss of his mother, her 19 year old son Cory also killed himself.

I have thousands of these stories, each and every one a heartbreakingly familiar narrative: a vulnerable person denied absolutely vital assistance, unable to bear the pain of a day to day life scrabbling at the periphery of insecurity and just-about-survival, choosing a devastatingly permanent ending to a story that they didn’t get the luxury of choosing their own adventure in. God, they didn’t even get the luxury of choosing their own living accommodation, the colour of their front doors, or the meagre combination of basic store cupboard staples that made up their dinners.

What kind of world do we live in, where these horrific and very real examples of destitution and desperation are not a clarion call for an immediate overhaul of a barbaric and repeatedly proven fatal ideology?

And it begs the point, that with several hundred thousand pounds of full time staff at their disposal to do the everyday grunt work, you’d think that MPs would use a fraction of that generous budget to actually do some research in their chosen field.

Yes indeed. Lee Anderson’s most recent expenses claim alone came to £220,000. That will have included the cost of employing his support staff, so the question goes straight to the point.

The painful reality is that when most basic of human needs costs more than the meagre payments that the recipients are forced to subsist on, cheap pasta and canned beans aren’t going to make a jot of difference unless you’re willing to stuff them up your jumper and make a run for it. Those that claim to be the party of clever economics and fiscal responsibility would do well to remember this simple truth: the square root of fuck all is always going to be absolutely fuck all, no matter how creatively you’re told to to dice it.

I make no apology for the strong language; sometimes people need to be told the facts in the hardest possible terms, just so they’ll sink in.

You’ll hear it again in the following video rant from another great social media icon, Cornish Damo:

Sadly, This Writer doubts that any amount of factual argument will persuade people like Anderson to change their tune, because they believe in the tactic the Tories stole (back) from the Nazi propagandist Goebbels: The Big Lie.

Anderson thinks if he keeps repeating, often enough, the lie that poverty is entirely the fault of people who are poor, and not of those who have deprived them of decent, affordable food, housing, energy, water and all the other necessities of life, we will all eventually believe that lie.

It’s up to you to prove him wrong.

ADDITIONAL: This could be very embarrassing for Mr Anderson:

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Backlash against former PM Cameron after social media foodbank post

Russian connection: while we’re panning David Cameron for his shameless exploitation of the food banks whose use exploded under his premiership, let’s remember that he was also a close friend of Vladimir Putin’s Russian government.

The politician most closely associated with the surge in UK foodbank use has actually had the nerve to fanfare his volunteer work in one.

David Cameron’s harsh anti-social policies pushed foodbank use up by 2,612 per cent while he was prime minister.

No wonder people rushed to condemn his ill-advised attempt at self-publicity:

Probably the best put-down was by left-wing journalist Owen Jones.

He tweeted that it was like a ‘serial arsonist joining the local fire brigade’.

Source: David Cameron faces foodbank backlash after posting about his volunteer work

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Founding union splits from Labour in disgust at Starmer – hours before his big speech

BFAWU president Ian Hodson: the union has disaffiliated from Labour – the party it helped create – after Starmer’s rabble threatened to expel him over a connection with a proscribed organisation.

One of the trade unions that founded the Labour Party has disaffiliated from it – in disgust at Keir Starmer’s insistence on waging a “factional internal war” instead of opposing Boris Johnson’s far-right government.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) had said it would hold a vote on disaffiliation after Labour threatened to expel its national president, Ian Hodson, over connections with one of the organisations that Starmer’s Labour recently proscribed for no very good reason.

Hodson had dealings with Labour Against the Witchhunt – a support organisation for party members falsely accused of anti-Semitism by Keir Starmer’s auto-guilting disciplinary machine – until 2017.

It was proscribed by Starmer’s perversion of the party earlier this year, making any action against Hodson retrospective – and therefore unreasonable.

The union had planned a disaffiliation vote to coincide with Starmer’s speech at the Labour conference in Brighton this week – but the announcement was made the day before, heaping humiliation on the party’s non-leader.

He is the only Labour leader ever to drive away one of the organisations that helped found the party.

In a statement, the union made its reasoning clear [boldings mine]:

“We need footballers to campaign to ensure our schoolchildren get a hot meal. Workers in our sector, who keep the nation fed, are relying on charity and good will from family and friends to put food on their tables. They rely on help to feed their families, with 7.5% relying on food banks, according to our recent survey.

“But instead of concentrating on these issues we have a factional internal war led by the leadership. We have a real crisis in the country and instead of leadership, the party’s leader  chooses to divide the trade unions and the membership by proposing changes to the way elections for his successor will take place.

“We don’t see that as a political party with any expectations of winning an election. It’s just the leader trying to secure the right wing faction’s chosen successor.

“The decision taken by our delegates doesn’t mean we are leaving the political scene; it means we will become more political and we will ensure our members’ political voice is heard as we did when we started the campaign for £10 per hour in 2014.

“Today we want to see £15 per hour for all workers, the abolition of zero hours contracts and ending discrimination of young people by dispensing with youth rates.

The BFAWU will not be bullied by bosses or politicians. When you pick on one of us you take on all of us. That’s what solidarity means.”

In the light of this announcement, Keir Starmer should be dreading the moment when he takes the stage for his speech.

He was probably hoping for applause – but now he’ll be lucky to avoid catcalls. Personally, This Writer would pelt him with rotten vegetables.

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Food chain collapse means Brexit is hitting schools – and the media are whitewashing Johnson

School meals: Boris Johnson’s Brexit means these are soon to become a rarity.

The Brexit-prompted HGV driver shortage means school canteens are going to run out of food, it was revealed – just as English schools reopened for the autumn term.

Now, why wasn’t this ever mentioned before?

HGV drivers are chronically low-paid, which is probably why there was a shortage of 60,000 even before all the EU-national drivers – 25,000 of them – were told to go home by Boris Johnson’s gang of xenophobes (you call them the government).

There were plans to train up 19,000 new drivers but they were foiled by Covid-19.

So that’s 104,000 HGVs that aren’t servicing our supermarkets and schools. It must be terrific for reducing pollution but it’s not so good for your child’s nutritional needs.

But that isn’t even the worst of it!

Farmers are struggling to get workers to bring in the harvest, meaning much of the food they have grown over the last year may spoil.

Formerly people came from the European Union but “post-Brexit, that is a problem”.

Apparently 70,000 seasonal workers are needed but only 30,000 seasonal work permits are available to people now living in the EU. And there aren’t enough UK workers to fill the gap.

Either the Tories didn’t think about this when they were setting the number of seasonal permits available… or they deliberately planned to sabotage the harvest. Neither alternative is particularly palatable, is it?

This Writer will be charitable and suggest that the Tories didn’t think. There’s a precedent for this: they didn’t think the withdrawal from Afghanistan would be the mess they made it and they didn’t think giving Covid-related contracts worth billions of pounds to their inexperienced friends would do any harm, after all.

So this is probably just another symptom of Boris Johnson’s spectacular – nay, stellar – incompetence.

I’m sure you’ll take comfort from that when you look at your empty plate later this year.

And by the way, that’ll be partly due to a knock-on effect of all this: food prices are going to rocket:

According to the FT report,

the shortage of lorry drivers and more regulatory checks on imported food [will] combine with rising prices for fuel, freight and raw materials, experts have warned.

So that’s even before the effect on the harvest is taken into account!

People are, understandably, angry:

But some are strangely silent.

For example – the BBC. The omission that Peter Stefanovic mentions below is just symptomatic of the Corporation’s efforts to safeguard Boris Johnson and his Tory gang from any responsibility for their stupid decisions:

And – inevitably – they are helped in this by the utter failure of Labour MPs to highlight the harm and the reason for it. Anyone would think they had faults of their own to hide:

Perhaps it’s time people were reminded that they voted for this fiasco. Given a choice between a leader who would have ensured that there was food on our plates and Boris Johnson, the UK’s people voted for starvation:

For some, this will be the hardest part to swallow.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Union that co-founded the Labour Party threatens disaffiliation – during Starmer’s conference speech

BFAWU president Ian Hodson: the union is threatening to disaffiliate from Labour – the party it helped create – after Starmer’s rabble threatened to expel him over a connection with a proscribed organisation.

This will be a stunning humiliation for Keir Starmer – if it happens. The decision on timing is a masterstroke.

One of the unions that helped set up the Labour Party at the beginning of the 20th century has threatened to sever its connection with Keir Starmer’s right-wing perversion of that organisation.

The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union is recalling its national conference to take the vote after learning that Labour is considering expelling its national president, Ian Hodson, over connections with one of the organisations that Starmer’s Labour recently proscribed for no very good reason.

The union also condemned Starmer’s apparent decision to repair its relationship with bosses while widening divisions with representatives of labour – the trade unions.

In a statement, the union’s representatives said: “The recent decision to proscribe organisations is seen as a divisive and a purely factional attack which will do nothing to unite the party or provide any real opportunity for the party to be able to unite to fight and defeat our real enemy The Tory Party.

“Our National President has only ever conducted himself in line with the policies and the decisions taken by this trade union.

“The executive expressed dismay and anger at the idea the Labour Party should consider expelling the office of our nominated political lead in our organisation, and agreed that a firm response was required should the party take such actions.

“The BFAWU executive unanimously agreed a timeline that would coincide with the leaders address to national Labour conference in September should such a situation arise.

“An attack on one of ours is an attack on all of us.

“We will not accept bullying from any bosses or a party that seems to be choosing to prefer to be on the bosses side.”

The threat puts Starmer in an impossible position. If he refuses to give in, he’ll suffer a huge public relations defeat and personal humiliation. If he doesn’t, then others will demand to know why Hodson is getting special treatment – and his proscription of left-wing groups will become meaningless.

In making this decision to stand with its president, the Bakers’ union has shown the way for everybody – including individual party members.

What’s to stop individual Labour branches and constituency parties from choosing to disaffiliate, if one of their members is threatened with expulsion unfairly? Nothing.

It seems likely that such solidarity is the only response that Starmer will understand.

Source: BFAWU to recall Conference – Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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