What are the economic conditions of teachers and students?
How much is energy inflation?
What about hospitality businesses?
Amid the Cost of living Crisis, concerns about power outages caused by Russia’s decision to throttle gas supplies to Europe face the UK’s people with difficulties, including teachers.
According to a survey by the Office for National Statistics, half of the students in England are struggling with financial difficulties, with a quarter taking on additional debts and three in 10 skipping lectures and tutorials to cut costs.
Inflation, now running at 11%, is adding further costs to council services while extra demand for many services is increasing, for example, as more people need help from the council with the cost of living Crisis. In particular, key areas of pressure are growing costs in children’s social care.
Based on ONS statistics:
More than nine in 10 students (91%) who took part in the survey said they were worried about the cost of living Crisis, and 45% said their mental health had deteriorated during the autumn term.
Almost two-thirds (62%) have cut back on food shopping, nearly two in five (38%) have reduced their use of gas and electricity to keep costs down, and more than half (52%) have had to rely on savings to get by.
More than three-quarters (77%) said they were worried the Crisis would affect how well they did in their degree. Four in 10 (40%) said they were studying more at home to save on costs rather than going to campus, and one in five (21%) attended lectures remotely.
Teachers are being forced to take second jobs, including driving taxis, bar work and private tutoring, to pay bills and eat, head teachers and unions warned last week.
The NASUWT teachers’ union has found that one in 10 teachers now have a second or third job because their teaching pay doesn’t cover their monthly outgoings. With teachers resorting to school food banks, heads are warning that the recent 5% pay rise will still leave many unable to manage basic living costs.
Garry Ratcliffe, chief executive of the Galaxy Trust, which runs nine schools in Kent, said: “At one of my schools, as well as those doing private tutoring, I’ve got a teacher who has to dance at the weekend in a Greek restaurant, a teacher working as a farm hand, and one doing shifts in a bar.”
A survey of teachers’ well-being, due to be published on Tuesday by the charity Education Support, will show that stress is at crisis proportions, and more than half of educators have been looking to leave their job.
Teachers in Scotland will hold two days of strike action next month after NASUWT members voted overwhelmingly to support the move. In England and Wales, the results of the ballot, which is underway now, will be known early in the New Year. Members are facing unprecedented financial strain. Of the teachers we surveyed, 97% told us they were worried about their financial situation, 65% were finding it difficult to pay their energy bills, and 57% were finding it difficult to cover the cost of travelling to work. Meanwhile, 72% were cutting back on food spending. A typical classroom teacher is more than £50,000 worse off than they would have been had their pay kept pace with inflation over the last decade. In real terms, teachers’ earnings, even with the proposed pay awards on offer, will still lag where they were in 2010.
The cost of living Crisis has deterred customers just as food ingredients, energy, rent and wages surge.
Members surveyed by Hospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association and the British Institute of In keeping and Hospitality Ulster were anticipating a vacancy rate of 17% this Christmas, compared with the current vacancy rate of 11%. This means 33% will reduce venue opening hours, and 29% will simplify their menus this Christmas.
More than a third of hospitality businesses are at risk of failure in early 2023 due to cost increases, the UK Hospitality survey found. Figures from the Insolvency Service showed that the number of restaurants and food outlets across the UK entering liquidation has increased by 46% in the three months to September.
Ministers will finally advise households on the best methods to cut their energy usage and bills this winter. The public information campaign, expected before Christmas, has been at the Centre of a debate that has spanned three prime ministers and divided the Conservative party.
The Times reported that officials have identified eight changes to save up to £420 a year with no loss of comfort. Here are some suggested measures and the estimated annual saving ministers think each will deliver.
- Reduce boiler temperature and turn off heating when going out
- Turn off radiators in empty rooms
- Electrical savings such as ditching standby
- Switch baths for showers
UK restaurants are going bust faster than during the Covid Crisis owing to a “toxic mix” of surging energy costs, staff shortages and falling bookings.
Closures in the sector rose by 60%, with 1,567 insolvencies over 2021-22, up from 984 during 2020-21, according to a study by the advisory firm Mazars. The figure includes 453 over the past three months, up from 395 in the previous quarter.
The annual price increase of fresh food last month was exceptionally high, up 13.3% year on year compared with a rate of 12.1% in September. Non-food inflation picked up to 4.1% from 3.3% the month before, meaning overall shop prices were 6.6% higher year on year, also a record rise for the index. The BRC chief executive, Helen Dickinson, said: “It has been a difficult month for consumers who not only faced an increase in their energy bills, but also a more expensive shopping basket.
There is little hope that food price inflation will ease soon, warned Andy Clarke, the former chief executive of the supermarket chain Asda.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Britain faces a harsh winter. “We’re seeing inflation numbers at over double-digit. Nothing we can see in the near term suggests it will go south of that. If anything, it’s going to go up.”
Sinéad Mc Brearty, the mental health charity’s chief executive, said that her organization has had to double the number of hardship grants it gives to teachers this year. “Now, the biggest reason for the support is buying food,” she said. “We also support them with rent or mortgage payments, bills and travel to work.”