Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, has revealed the results of her online ‘cost of living survey’ for constituents which indicate that more than 90% of respondents expect their standard of living to get worse or stay the same over the next three years.
Launched on Catherine’s website six weeks ago, following figures revealing that real average earnings in the North East fell by around £1,200 a year between 2010 and 2012 alone, the headline findings are that:
- 79% of respondents said they were concerned by household energy bills;
- 56% by food prices; and
- 39% with the cost of transport.
More than half of respondents aged over 60 said they have cut back on heating as a result of rising fuel costs.
Just over half of people completing the survey felt their family’s standard of living has gone down over the last three years (60% in the case of people with a disability), and more than 90% of respondents felts their living standards would either get worse or stay the same over the next three years. More than three quarters of those answering the survey felt the National Minimum Wage is insufficient to live on in Newcastle.
‘The cost of living – and the failure of people’s income to keep pace – is raised with me time and time again by constituents.
‘This survey shows that people have very real concerns about their standard of living and the different household bills which affect this. What’s particularly worrying is the finding that, despite recent welcome economic growth, the overwhelming majority of people – more than 90% – don’t expect this situation to get any better in the next three years.
‘It’s absolutely critical we ensure that any recovery benefits every part of the country, but I’m really concerned that it is yet to touch the lives of the majority of people in Newcastle North.
‘That almost 80% of people are worried about energy prices is totally unsurprising, but the fact more than half of older people completing the survey have cut back on their heating as a result of high bills is a particular concern, particularly over the winter months.
‘These findings demonstrate why Ed Miliband has been absolutely right to call for an energy price freeze and a fundamental overhaul of how the energy market works.’