Recently we had good news that inflation has fallen to 6.8 percent, down from 10.1 percent at the beginning of the year.
Driven by high levels of public spending through Covid, and by the war in Ukraine, I know that inflation has brought about hardship for many families across Mansfield, so I welcome this news and feel confident that the Government’s plan to tackle inflation is working.
The good news is experts predict this to fall even further to five percent by the end of the year, getting closer to the Bank of England’s two percent target.
Despite these figures heading in the right direction and faster than predicted, many people will still be waiting to feel the positive effects of this news in their wallets. I’m grateful the Government has stepped in on this and supported families with the cost-of-living during these unprecedented times.
As well as halving inflation by the end of the year, Government has provided £3,300 on average per household to help with rising costs - in total this is a support package worth £94 billion.
Low-income households have also received support with cost-of-living payments of up to £1,350, alongside an uplift in means-tested benefits for pensioner households and disability benefit claimants.
The state pension has also been uprated in line with inflation, and local authorities like Nottinghamshire County Council are receiving more funding to support vulnerable families from within their communities - with the Household Support Fund reaching over £2 billion in support across the country.
From April, the National Living Wage rose by 9.7 percent, giving the lowest paid full-time workers a pay-rise of £1,600 a year too, and this week we’ve heard that energy bills will fall again in October by an average of £150 per household.
I’m not saying this makes everything right or solves the current cost-of-living challenge. There’s no silver bullet. However, I do know many of these interventions have been of huge help to families across our town.
We’ve heard about the alternative under Labour, with plans that would fuel inflation, reverse all our hard-work and extend this period of rising prices for longer. As it stands, I’m confident that we’re on the right track, inflation is coming down and our economy is growing.
Ideally of course, most families and households should never have to rely on so much support from the Government long-term. The wider challenge once the cost of living returns relatively to “normal”, is how we build an economy that allows people to access better paid jobs and keep more of the money they earn.
This will take time to achieve and in Mansfield we’re already on that journey.
Our Secondary Schools are improving, our college is establishing itself as a hub for advanced manufacturing, and amazing new job opportunities in sectors like clean energy are coming our way.
It’s crucial that we look towards these opportunities – like our world-first STEP Fusion reactor coming to North Notts – that will help to build a high-skilled workforce that gives our economy the skills it needs, provides the energy security needed to defend against global energy price rises, and gives people the financial security and resilience to tackle any challenges we might face in the future.