For millennials like me, Rishi Sunak’s measly measures are a kick in the teeth

ANDvery time I hear or see the words “cost of living” these days, my stomach twists itself into knots. I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of warmer months, not only because I am sick of winter, but also because it means not having to turn the heating on anymore or keep the lights on for long hours.

Gas and electricity bills aren’t the only thing I worry about. Out-of-control inflation has pushed the price of food, clothes, health and beauty products, and furniture up into some of the highest rates in years. Rising national insurance rates, rising rail fares, rising interest rates, rising council tax – the list goes on and on.

Giving his spring statement in the Commons on Wednesday, chancellor Rishi Sunak had probably thought he would look like the hero of the hour. Like a flailing DJ trying to whip up a crowd already bored to tears, he hyped it up, saying it was his “mission” di lui to cut taxes and that he would “stand by” hard-working people.

But instead, it feels like being kicked while you’re already down and then being laughed at for groaning. The chancellor’s measures are so ineffective at actually helping anyone that they are laughable. Pushing up the threshold for national insurance will do little to compensate for the eye-watering bills, while a one-pence reduction in income tax by 2024 means nothing to me now.

It feels like no aspect of life has been untouched by the cost of living crisis. The rising prices of absolutely everything is worrying at best and crippling at worst, with thousands of Britons already feeling the suffocating grip of the latter.

It feels like no aspect of life has been untouched by the cost of living crisis

All of this comes as a time where many millennials have more or less given up on certain milestones that generations achieved by my age. I’m turning 30 in July. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that buying my first home before then is a pipe dream (unless I win the lottery, which I’m still holding out hope for), and that having a child now would be financial suicide.

Any savings I’ve built up over the last few years have been rinsed by ongoing visa costs, which is an entirely separate nightmare. That includes anything saved during the pandemic, which did offer many people the opportunity to squirrel some money away. But returning to “normal” life, coupled with the completely understandable desire not to miss out life after the months that the pandemic stole from us, has been an expensive endeavor.

Underlining just how bad things are was the Money Saving Expert himself, Martin Lewis. Earlier this week, he threw up his hands and told BBC1’s Sunday Morning Live that he is “virtually out of tools to help people now”.

“It’s not something money management can fix. It’s not something for those on the lowest incomes, telling them to cut their belts will work. We need political intervention, ”he said.

If I, a privileged millennial living in a dual-income household with no children (albeit with a very demanding cat) and a good job in London, feel paralysed over the grimness of the situation, I cannot even begin to think of the terror those who have to live on less are feeling. With 1.3 million people teetering on the brink of poverty at this very moment, no amount of “standing by” by Sunak will ease their burden.

I cannot even begin to think of the terror those who have to live on less are feeling

Economists aren’t impressed by the chancellor’s empty promises either. In fact, the Resolution Foundation, an economic think tank, warned that the average working family is set to lose £ 1,100, a four per cent drop in their income in the next financial year despite the Chancellor’s changes.

According to the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, a median earner on around £ 27,500 a year “will be about £ 360 worse off in the next financial year than in the current year”. It is not a comforting thought, and one that will certainly hang over me like a dark cloud this year.

Sure, I can admit that Sunak is right about one thing – he can’t fix everything. But instead of making changes that could make a genuine difference for millions of Britons, such as boosting Universal Credit, imposing a windfall tax on oil and gas giants or even amending the future £ 200 loan for gas and electricity payments so people don’t have to pay it back, he chose to ignore the people’s pleas. He may as well have done nothing.

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