Rent inflation has gone through the roof, says Rachael Maskell - adding to the cost of living crisis
Rent inflation has gone through the roof, says Rachael Maskell - adding to the cost of living crisis

It doesn’t add up. The sums don’t work. Something has to give.

The squeeze on home budgets and suppressed wages cannot respond to soaring rents and bills. Millions of people have fallen into the red, many in York.

Austerity has been so punishing. It’s been over a decade and political failure to address the ‘cost of living’ for low-income families has widened inequality. While most work, for those that can’t, the state pension triple lock has been broken and universal credit slashed by £36bn since 2010.

All aspire to ‘levelling up’, but like all Tory Government promises, the opposite is true. The abandonment of the North, the poorest, those in need of secure, good quality jobs is their legacy.

The Prime Minister had the opportunity to protect households against the surge in energy prices, he has done nothing. Heating and cooking will cost the average family £2,000 a year, 50 per cent up on last year.

While Labour has put forward proposals to help everyone with cash in hand, found from a windfall tax on the oil and gas tycoons who have ripped us off for years, the Tories are letting us drown in debt as they let their cronies off the hook again – that’s what friends are for.

The fallout: inflation will rise, more costs, and six million will be stranded in fuel poverty. A decade of not retrofitting homes, installing heat pumps or replacing carbonised energy with sustainable solutions has a heavy price.

Too many now spend hours under the duvet, rather than flicking the heating switch. What else are you to do, when you know that you’ll never be able to pay? Government should be targeting these homes for retrofitting.

Food too. Labour priced up a packed lunch, up 11 per cent on last year. No stomachs must feel empty. Yet it is the generosity of strangers, who want to show love and kindness, who meet need. This is what society is, local people giving to others.

Then add in your rent. Rent inflation has gone through the roof. With an estimated 1,741 holiday lets and countless more second homes, housing costs continue to rise. Unscrupulous landlords, profiteering out of others poverty. The council don’t help as they have completely failed to meet any social house building target – hopeless.

This weekend, when on the doorstep in York, a resident told me that she has nothing left after her rent and bills, and can never see the day when she will be able to afford a mortgage. A couple are having to move, because they simply can’t afford to stay. And another, in a highly professional job, was still having to share in their mid-thirties. Another was scared about not being able to pay their bills.

No relief, no grip on the cost-of-living crisis. No solutions. Just more and more luxury flats springing up and spiralling bills. How can the profligate Prime Minister understand when he pays more on a roll of wallpaper than you pay on your monthly rent?

As if this isn’t enough, Government is going to tax you more – and so is the council from April. Pay more, get less.

The Government says it is for the NHS, but waiting lists are out of control, there has been a decade of neglect, and our precious NHS can’t cope. As for the council, never forget that £400,0000 payoff, we’ve all been ripped off by the Green/Lib Dem administration here. Now they can’t afford vital services.

These are all political choices. Poor stewardship of our economy has plunged us into this mess. The only problem is that the Chancellor has shifted the responsibility from him to you.

Labour will never abandon you. We will tax the gas companies, not consumers. We will ensure that everyone has the food they need and we will build the social and truly affordable homes to live in.

For now, there is help. Do get in touch. Secondly, there are elections looming when you will have the chance to sweep away this rotten Government and council, to rebuild, invest and develop our city and country with your values and your priorities.


This article appeared in The York Press on 2 Feb, 2022

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