Posts Tagged ‘recession’
British people are too busy worrying about money and wasting their lives on social networks to do the one thing that is free AND fun – having sex. So says the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, published today.
According to the survey, people in the 16-44 age bracket are having less sex than they did 10 years ago – just under 5 times a month – as we’re all too paralysed with worry about our low incomes and using Facebook and Twitter to distract us from our woes. They’re calling it the ‘recession impact’ (But a good alternative would be ‘Twitter Droop.’)
Professor Kay Wellings said: ‘There’s a strong relationship between unemployment and low sexual function, according to the literature. That is to do with low self-esteem, depression. At the other end of the scale iPads and computers have all breached the boundary between the home and the bedroom.’
Yes, all those under-the-covers ipads and smartphones are stopping us getting some good loving. We’re so distracted by watching Kanye’s video and then the following 36 spoof versions of Kanye’s video, that we’re failing to ride off into the sunset naked on a motorbike ourselves.
Are we OK with that? Well only one in 10 of us admitted to having sexual problems, and cited ‘lack of interest’ as a common reason not to do it. So maybe we just prefer to be on Facebook?
Do you remember the halcyon days of 2008 when everyone had so much money they didn’t know what to do with it? Despite George’s claims to the contrary, a new report by Asda and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) suggests that UK households will be £1,300 a year worse off in real terms in 2018 than in 2009 owing to rising costs, stagnating pay and austerity measures impinging on discretionary income.
For the past five years, Asda has produced a monthly Income Tracker, which measures the change in ‘discretionary income’ – how much families have left to spend each week after paying for essentials like energy, food and housing costs. Now they have produced a report which not only looks back over the last five years, but also predicts how things will look in another five years time, in 2018.
The figures show that, on average, we are £868 a year worse off in 2013 than we were in 2008, and that this will rise to £1,300 worse off in real terms by 2018.
Over the next five years the average UK household is expected to spend £3,900 a year more on essential items – like housing and utilities (up £652 a year by 2018), transport (up £663 a year by 2018) and mortgage interest (up £599 a year by 2018)- than they do today, with slow income growth and inflation making the pinch. Price inflation on essential items is expected to outstrip pay every month until 2018, and although disposal income is expected to remain stagnant at around £160 a month over this period, inflationary increases on discretionary spend will mean the real terms value of disposable income will continue to fall.
However, there is some regional variation and differences depending on your age and family circumstances. In 2018, pensioners (who are somewhat protected by inflation-clad pensions) and the well-off will end up better off than they are today, while low-income earners and single-parent families will be proportionately worst off. Youngsters under 30 will bear the brunt of the increased recession costs, with this group already being £200 a month down on 2008, and a further £200 a month drop in income anticipated by 2018.
Asda CEO Andy Clarke says: “Looking ahead to the next five years, one thing is clear: it’s going to remain incredibly tough for consumers. While the economy may be on the road to recovery the economic reality for them is very different depending on where you live and your age.”
No wonder we feel so skint. We are skint. Brits are officially moth-eaten, pond dwelling losers, earning some of the lowest wages in the EU. Even Spain, which has been hit by severe austerity measures, is doing better than us.
House of Commons figures show that the UK’s average hourly wage has dropped by 5.5% since 2010 – which puts us in the bottom four countries along with Portugal, the Netherlands and Greece. Conversely, in Germany and France, everyone is living it up with steins of beer and cheeky absinthes, with wages rising by 2.7% and 0.4% respectively.
With the recent news that British workers will have lost £6660 from their wages by the next election, things are looking grim. Shadow Treasury minister Cathy Jamieson said: These figures show the full scale of David Cameron’s cost of living crisis. Working people are not only worse off under the Tories, we’re also doing much worse than almost all other EU countries.Despite out of touch claims by ministers, life is getting harder for ordinary families as prices continue rising faster than wages.’
Why aren’t we taking to the streets to protest? Well, we would, but we’ve got to don our tabards and put in another shift at Chicken Cottage.
Chief Executive Phil Clarke tried to rectify the downward trend by investing £1 billion on more staff, new food ranges, new stores and lower prices. However, it hasn’t worked.
“What we’re in to is long term sustainable growth. It’s going to ebb and flow over a quarter but the direction of travel is the right direction,” said Clarke.
“These results go to show that, even with 1 billion pounds to throw at it, there are no guarantees,” said John Ibbotson, director of retail consultants Retail Vision.
This morning, Tesco shares were down 3.2 percent at 353 pence, among the largest drops by a UK blue-chip stock.
Expect a raft of new advertisements on your television soon, as that’s what always happens when Tesco finds itself in trouble.
Poundland, whose slogan – if you can call it a slogan – is ‘Everything’s £1’ has started to slash prices in some of its stores to 97p, in a bid to undercut its closest rivals, 99p Stores. Depressed yet?
It seems the battle of the not-quite-a-pound shops has been heating up in such UK hotspots as East Ham and Dudley, and competition to sell mop heads, pegs and One Cup teabags for less than a pound is getting fierce.
Jim McCarthy, chief executive of Poundland, explained the move to Retail Week.
‘It is those early weeks [when a rival opens] that are very important and if you can pop the balloon early we find that doing that rather than nothing at all is helpful,’ Mr McCarthy said.
(Balloons – 97p).
‘And it sends the message that we’re not a soft touch.’ He added.
(Soft Touch toilet paper – 97p).
‘It’s a bit like when a supermarket has a competitor opening nearby. They have hosts of tactics to dampen the impact.’
(5 pack of Tictacs – 97p)
It makes the mind boggle. What must the rubbish they sell actually be worth? 10p? 5p? 1p? If pound shop price wars continue, one day, everything will cost nothing, and we’ll just all stick our heads in a massive branded trough with FREE written on it, and consume knock off Mini Cheddars until we explode.
Not only do the over 60s have to be worried about who they may or may not have groped at the BBC in the 1970s – they’re also suffering a major debt crisis.
Over-60s owe an average of £23,000, a figure which is up 40% since the recession, according to debt charity Step Change. The problem is credit cards – seems that today’s beige warriors are more than happy to pay for M&S ready meals and Steradent on tick. And it doesn’t help that state pensions are miniscule.
Neil Duncan-Jordan, from the National Pensioners Convention, said: ‘People just don’t have the income to be able to sustain their lifestyle. The number of old people going to food banks is increasing. The number going for debt advice is increasing. The number of people really really struggling, usually in silence, is increasing.’
At the time when older people should be warming their hard working feet in their Big Slippers and feeling secure, it seems that the financial crisis has left us all completely shafted, whether we’re just starting out or winding down. Let’s all put a bottle of gin on the credit card and wait for death, shall we?
Thanks to TV shows like Changing Rooms and Tommy from Garden Force’s Creosote Challenge, Britain used to be in the grip of DIY fever. A bank holiday meant agonising hours trying to put up shelves, or destroying nature by replacing it with acres of decking. But NO MORE.
According to figures from Lloyd TSB, spending on DIY has been falling for five years in a row. In 2012, households spent £10.5 billion on DIY – which is £800 million less than in 2011, and a third less than in 2004, when we went crazy and spent £15.5 billion on grout and gazebos.
In Broken Britain, a lot of us don’t have the skills to do even the simplest DIY tasks. And in another survey by Aviva, they found that one in five young adults between 18 and 24 don’t own a hammer, screwdriver or spanner. Instead, we’d get a man in, but we can’t afford to pay them at the moment – with spending on tradesmen dropping by £4m.
So what are we doing instead? Well, we’re putting our feet up, having a beer and watching Britain’s Got Talent, while weeds grow outside and the roof slowly caves in. And I think we can all agree that’s so much better than standing in B&Q wondering whether to buy No More Nails or Unibond.
With most people struggling to make ends meet and trying to make breakfast by gluing the crumbs in the toaster together with tears, there’s not much money left for little luxuries.
But according to the Mintel Lifestyle survey, people are trying to make themselves feel better by beautifying themselves. Sales of beauty products went up by 11% per person since 2007, when the financial crisis hit. This so called ‘lipstick effect’, apparently happens when recession-hit women (and transvestites) just want to cheer themselves up with something cheap.
The survey also found that people are doing more cooking from scratch at home, including baking, inspired by such shows as the Great British Bore Off.
However, all this cooking while wearing make-up doesn’t seem to be making us happy. Only half of Brits said they were satisfied with their standard of living – compared to 60% in 2008. So it seems that we’d still rather be sunning ourselves on a yacht with Kanye than standing in Debenhams wondering whether to splurge our meager wages on a Clinque chubby stick or a silicon baking tin.
As austerity rumbles on, we all just need to keep going and look on the bright side. And at least we’ll look nice when we’re standing on the street with our ‘Homeless and Hungry’ signs.
As millions of people reject organic broccoli for other broccoli that tastes the same but costs less, organic products are being left on the shelf like a plain girl called Joan at a school dance.
Unsurprisingly, sales of organic products are being affected by the recession, leading to a 1.5% fall from last year – which continues their slow fall from grace. (Sales were down by 3.7% the year before).
In their annual report, The Soil Association also blames supermarkets for not bigging up organic products enough. Despite Bumfords with straw hats and acoustic guitars accounting for 16% of all sales, it’s a far cry from those heady days of 2008, when we were wallowing in baths of beetroot juice and hemp flavoured sausages, and spending £2.1bn on organic products.
However things aren’t all doom and gloom for organic farmers. Specialist retailers and online businesses are going strong with Ocado increasing their organic produce by 6.4%. In news that will shock nobody, most of these sales are concentrated in London, amongst people called Sebastian who bake their own black olive and sumac rolls.
Back in the real world, it just goes to show that when our pockets are practically empty, most people don’t give a monkey’s – 10p pickled onion Space Raiders will do just fine, ta.
If current trends continue, it looks like Britain’s high streets will soon become ghost towns featuring the occasional lone branch of Cash Converters. Accountancy gurus PwC and retail analysts the Local Data Company say the amount of empty shops soared last year, with chains shutting an average of 20 shops a day.
Thanks to big name chains like Clintons, Comet, Jessops and HMV going into administration there were a total of 7,337 closures in Britain, ranging from 1,281 in London to 353 in Scotland and 213 in Wales.
Not surprisingly, online shopping was mostly blamed for the amount of store closures, as well as businesses who had opened too many stores and had spread themselves too thinly over a number of channels.
But it’s not all bad news! Pound shops, pay day lenders and shitty shitty shops selling dried twig flower arrangements and ‘hilarious’ Lady Gaga masks continued to thrive.
So is the high street worth saving? Or will the march of progress inevitably turn it into a dystopian wasteland of pawned Argos ‘MUM’ rings, stolen stereos and remaindered Lance Armstrong autobiographies?
Soon, the highstreets of Britain will have 25 new Albemarle & Bond pawnbrokers on them in a clear sign that the public aren’t dealing with this recession at all. With banks not helping anyone out, it appears that people are selling their possessions to get through it.
One slightly more cheerful element to this is that the opening of these outlets will create around 300 jobs.
Barry Stevenson chief executive, noting the subdued rents on the highstreet, said: “Since the recession, retail rates for highstreet locations have finally returned to a sensible level, which allows us to be where our services are needed.”
“However, compared to places like the US, the pawnbroking market here is still drastically underserved. We intend to address that through our expansion into new locations and by developing new channels to help people access our services more easily”.
This, combined with gold buyers and the new crop of payday loan firms are stepping in where the banks are failing.
“With fewer people able to get credit through the banks, pawnbroking has an opportunity to play an increasingly important role in many people’s finances, whether they need some quick cash to get the car through its MOT, or run a business and need some cash to tide them over until a customer pays,” Mr Stevenson added.
Actually, it is more windy than rainy here today, but those cheerful sorts over at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) figured that what everyone needed on a grim Monday morning was a new report about how bad everything has got, and how bad it’s going to stay, particularly for poorer households and families with children, who will be most affected by post-recession tax and benefit reforms.
This latest recession is apparently the worst for over sixty years, and as part of a new cross-country study the IFS have now seen fit to capitalise this Great Recession in a new report that looks at living standards in the UK and how they compare around the world.
The report uses quite a lot of long words but essentially says that “UK households were relatively insulated from the immediate impacts of the Great Recession”, owing to the welfare system and Governmental financial support, although “much of this protective effect was concentrated on households in the bottom half of the income distribution.”
However, as we enter the new age of austerity, with words like “cuts”, “deficits” and “lack of funding” bandied about everywhere, household incomes now look set to be squeezed for a considerable length of time as governments attempt to repair their public finances. The report found that, in 2010-11, earnings, state benefits and tax credits all fell in real terms (ie after accounting for inflation) in the UK. IFS researchers estimate that this is likely to have led to a fall in household income of 3.5%, the largest single-year drop since 1981, and meaning we are all going back to 2003/04 in financial terms.
The IFS conclude that most of the impact of the Great Recession on UK living standards was not felt until after the ‘official’ end of the recession, but that “the pain was most definitely delayed rather than avoided.” The IFS have previously warned that the end of economic pain was not nigh, and they reiterate their findings that living standards look set to continue to decline until at least 2013/14.
And if capitalising Great and Recession were not dramatic enough, the IFS are claiming the projections would mean the UK had experienced one of the worst decades for changes in living standards since at least the Second World War. Those who were around for Rationing may disagree. Slightly
However, the IFS report also looks at who is worst affected. Planned tax and benefit reforms in the post-recession period have reduced total net household income by about 5% by 2014/15. Policy changes hitting households include the rise in VAT to 20%, changes to the way benefit increases are calculated and a series of aggregate cuts to tax credits and Housing Benefit. These cuts to welfare spending are expected to save the Government £18 billion per year in total by 2014/15, but it is those with the lowest incomes are set to lose the most from these reforms as a percentage of income- the bottom fifth of the population will lose at least 6% of their lowest incomes.
The report also shows that families with children are to be hit harder by these reforms than other family types, on average, owing largely to the freezing of Child Benefit and the reforms to Child Tax Credit and the childcare element of Working Tax Credit. The IFS also predicts that child poverty will rise in each of the 3 years between 2010/11 and 2013/14, and that it will be about 2 percentage points higher in 2013/14 as a result of the tax and benefit reforms planned by the current Government.
In fact, it seems the only winners at the moment are, surprisingly, pensioners. A contributing factor is that annual increases in the Basic State Pension will become more generous. Hence, unlike for families with children, tax and benefit reforms look set to continue to favour pensioners.
Melodramatic or no, it certainly seems to be the case that those who thought they were OK during the worst of the recession are now finding that this may not be the case. And if the economists are right, we may have to wait another 2-3 years until the light is switched back on at the end of the tunnel.
If you’re one of the 12,000 holiday makers currently abroad thanks to Holidays 4 U and Agean Flights, you’re probably going to be there a little longer than expected. Also, you’re probably not reading this. Regardless, the Brighton-based company which operates both brands has gone into administration.
Any passengers who have booked through a travel agent but not yet travelled are advised to contact the agent. There are further contact details on the now-threadbare Holidays 4 U website.
Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers are pinning the troubles on the recession. The majority of the 18 staff have been made redundant.
This recession has totally shagged the British pub industry. The big figure has been that 52 pubs have closed per week. That’s a staggering and, quite frankly, shitty amount of boozers to lose.
However, after relentless gloom ladling, here’s something a little more cheerful. Last week, a report came out saying that beer sales are finally getting better. These sales are far from brilliant, but progress is progress. So is it time to be cautiously optimistic for British pubs?
The Publican reported yesterday that pub performance is improving. Naturally, the first lot to show signs of recovery are the big chain pubs. However, this news was followed by new data compiled for the British Beer and Pub Association by CGA Strategy, showing that the second half of 2009 saw 39 pubs closing per week. It’s still crap, but it’s definitely not as crap as it was, meaning that things could be getting better for our ale houses.
A total of 2,365 pubs closed during 2009, leaving us with 52,500 in Britain. What this transpires to is a loss of over £250 million in tax revenues this year, if the current closure level continues. There’s a whole lot of people losing their jobs too, which is something that news outlets seems less keen on reporting.
However, the BBPA is warning the Government that they should be looking at way to help pubs out to avoid intensifying problems. The tax burden remains the biggest issue, and the government is apparently planning another above inflation increase in Beer Tax in the forthcoming Budget.
This increase in the complexity and cost of running a pub is ensuring that our ‘free houses’ are suffering more than any other pub. These closures have lead to a group forming called Back The Pub which is a campaign which hopes to bring together all those with an interest in supporting and promoting the British pub.
While it seems that things are a long way from being sorted, things are certainly looking up for the British pub. Now, who fancies a scoop?