OPINION - The Standard View: London reels from the body blow of inflation

·3-min read
 (Christian Adams)
(Christian Adams)

Inflation affects everyone, everywhere,  but it hurts some of us more than others. And the bleak truth is that the less well-off and Londoners are affected more than most. The worrying finding of our Ipsos poll is that millions of people would find it “very difficult” to cope with inflation rising to 11 per cent. Not just that, a third, 32 per cent of adults, say they would find themselves in financial crisis if the rate rises to the 11 per cent predicted by the Bank of England. In May it was 9.1 per cent. In London, that figure is just under half, or 49 per cent. Four in 10 people in London say they are already struggling.

Nationally, just over half would have to make some cutbacks but could cope while 15 per cent say they would not have to make any changes. But what is striking is that Londoners, younger people, women, public-sector workers, renters, Labour voters, people from ethnic minorities, semi/unskilled manual workers and those only living off state benefits, are all more likely to say they would find it very difficult to cope.

London is an expensive capital at the best of times, and this is not the best of times. Rents and house prices areunaffordable; we are disproportionately affected by strikes on public transport; fuel costs are increasing drastically  — today the roads are clogged by motorists driving slowly to protest at the fact that they can’t afford petrol. It all sends the same simple message: the cost of living really is a crisis and the Government must act accordingly. Focus on this, because the rest of us have to.

Pincher and his voters

The extraordinary range of allegations about the former deputy chief whip, Chris Pincher, now includes episodes to do with his fellow MPs — Labour as well as Tories — a researcher, an activist and a parliamentary candidate. It is possible others will emerge. It all confirms that it was right for the party to withdraw the Conservative whip from Mr Pincher but also raises serious questions about how much of all this was known  when he was appointed to a position of such sensitivity. Plainly in the Commons his reputation was no secret.

Meanwhile, it is hard to see how Mr Pincher can continue as MP for Tamworth. His constituents deserve the chance to express their view about his alleged conduct. Another by-election caused by sexual impropriety is the last thing the Government wants, but it may now be unavoidable.

Simply electric

The good news is that almost one in four new cars registered in London is now a fully electric vehicle, way ahead of the national average of 16 per cent. The less good news is that the waiting lists for an electric car are up to a year. But the short-term difficulties with supply for manufacturers are not insuperable; we are looking at an astonishing change in demand from ordinary motorists in a short space of time.

This paper’s Plug It In campaign has drawn attention to the need for infrastructure to support the change, chiefly a network of charging posts in outer as well as inner London. Once that is in place we can look forward to even greater numbers of motorists switching to an electric car. And where London leads, the nation follows. Here’s to cleaner air for all of us.

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