People in Leicester talk about the ways in which they have been affected by the UK’s cost of living crisis and how this has caused them to cut back on Christmas presents, food and socialising this year.
Although there are many shops around Leicester City Centre advertising Christmas-themed clothing and decorations, the cost of living crisis has definitely dimmed down shoppers’ Christmas spirit.
Tina Barnett, a 52- year-old mum from Leicester, said: “I think some people are doing away with Christmas this year- scrapping it altogether.”
Due to the increasing electricity bills, this year, Tina and her husband are unable to buy her two sons the gadgets and toys they wanted for Christmas. In order to save up, her family has had to cut costs by reducing the number of washing loads they give, and even delaying turning on the heating for winter.
“Christmas is a celebration and telling your kids that they can’t have what they wanted- it is hard,” she told the Leicester Times.
Nicola Page, 26, and Racheal Faraz, 38, reported spending five times lesser on gifts this year, allocating only £100 for each of their two children, as opposed to the £500 they spent last year.
“I think suicidal rates would increase massively this year because people are choosing between feeding and putting the heating on!” Ms Page said of the crisis.
“My weekly wage doesn’t even cover my bills anymore,” added Racheal.
Both Nicola and Racheal are working women with working partners but are still struggling to cover the costs of living and her increasing mortgage rates. From November 3 this year, the Bank of England raised interest rates from from 2.25 per cent to 3.0 per cent.
Padmanabhan Kamaraj, a 28-year-old international student in Leicester also reported struggling to pay for flight tickets to return back to his family in India during Christmas break, as a one-way ticket could cost up to £1,000.
In the UK, food and non-alcoholic beverage prices have risen by 14.6 per cent in the last 12 months, with the prices of staple foods soaring by 17 per cent. For this reason, Jason Lee, 52, said that more and more of his neighbours are starting to look at Leicester’s food banks to feed their families.
“They don’t really have a choice, do they?” he said.
Corrine Wilson, 26, stated that due to the cost of living crisis, Christmas this year would be more about spending time with family, rather than spending money on elaborate gifts, dinners and holidays.
“With the cost of living, we have decided to do only one present per person, or that we’ll only buy gifts for the children – not parents,” she revealed.
“With the prices of electricity going up, that is the main thing you want to pay off. Christmas just has to be put on a back shelf for now.”
The UK’s cost of living is the most affected of advanced economies, with a double-digit annual inflation rate of 10.1 per cent, hitting an all-time high in the last 40 years. While all in the UK are affected by rising prices, it is most substantially affecting low-income persons.
By Priyan Majumdar