Mansfield's cost of living crisis needs more than 5p a litre fuel reduction

Watching the Chancellor Rishi Sunak deliver his Spring Statement – almost delivered as if we should be grateful for 5p a litre off fuel – I thought: “How lovely, what will I spend this windfall on?”

Thursday, 24th March 2022, 1:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2022, 6:55 pm

While it is a step in the right direction, 5p per litre is a drop in the ocean for families in Mansfield and Ashfield.

Each day, I check my mail guardedly, waiting for the next utility bill to announce a price hike – and it is beginning to feel like a waking nightmare.

Utilities, groceries and rent are steadily increasing since the Covid pandemic – reportedly at the fastest rate in eight years – but our wages?

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Fuel prices have gone up by 40p per litre at some forecourts.

No huge increase there, I’m afraid.

Just like many other families, we are having to reduce our outgoings, as two full-time wages are barely enough to scrape by.

We are far from the worst affected as many have battled through a difficult two years of furlough and redundancies.

Foodbank usage is through the roof, while credit card spending is increasing as income no longer covers the basic bills.

Many blame Brexit, the pandemic, war in Ukraine, or profiteering.

My view is it is probably a combination of them all.

Fuel prices have been rising daily – as I collate figures for our regular online price-at-the-pumps feature, I wince as I compare that day’s figures with those of last week.

The cost of each delivery may have risen, but who can justify several price changes per day?

Mr Sunak announced the 5p cut in fuel duty, but in all honesty it felt like a smack in the face, when prices have risen 40p a litre in 10 days.

A £150 rebate on my council tax will cover one month’s increase, but what about the other 11 months of the year?

Instead of offering a small reduction, the Government need to delve deeper into the problem and start providing real, tangible help, by ensuring these companies announcing record profits are not taking advantage.

We, as consumers, must not be left over a barrel in the very literal sense.

If action isn’t taken soon, we will begin to see an even greater strain on our already-stretched mental health services and increasingly desperate solutions from those who cannot see a way out of their debts.

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