Alex B Cann Column: High Costs Hit Us All – Quest Media Network

Alex B Cann, Tameside Radio breakfast presenter.

Concerns over the cost of living crisis and Easter wishes feature in the Tameside Radio presenter’s latest column.

I’ve moved on, so I won’t mention being ambushed by a cake, or the fact that I missed so much time with my parents and friends by following the rules during lockdown. Apologies, it slipped over there. Instead, I wanted to write a bit in this week’s column about the rising cost of living and how worrying it really is.

If you’ve been grocery shopping lately, you couldn’t help but notice the skyrocketing prices of many items on the supermarket shelves.

Even Martin Lewis, “the money-saving expert”, said recently that he was almost out of options when it came to advice on utility bills.

A few months ago, an electric company got into hot water with a series of suggestions on how to save a few pennies, including cuddling our pets, doing some star hopping and keeping the oven open after cooking. I’m sure whoever wrote the advice meant well when they found it, but it came across as condescending spiel.

Here are some raw numbers.

The price of clothing and footwear rose 9.7% on the year to March, furniture, household equipment and maintenance jumped 10.4% while food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 5.9%.

March inflation does not take into account the average 54% rise in energy bills that was applied to around 22 million households two weeks ago.

Many of us are said to have saved money during the shutdowns, but the savings rate has slowed as everything goes up.

The prices at the petrol pumps are also pretty eye-popping, and after doing a bit of tracking I’m not convinced the 5p reduction in duty was evenly passed on. In fact, Sky News found that at best half had gone down in the price paid by customers.

With the unrest in Ukraine also beginning to have an effect on prices, as well as the availability of products such as sunflower oil, the world is looking a bit scary right now. Who could have predicted after two years of confinement that 2022 would potentially turn out to be more apocalyptic?

The government has pledged to give all members of Bands A-D a £150 council tax rebate, which is welcome, but it seems like the tip of the iceberg.

There is also the £200 energy loan, which is to be repaid over five years. It doesn’t help that some commentators suggest that families can survive just fine on ordinary bags of pasta. It used to be porridge, but maybe suggesting the pasta is a little less Dickensian. To me, why shouldn’t everyone get a treat once in a while?

Away from financial worries, this is hopefully a time when you can spend some quality time with your friends and family this Easter.

We’ve all been through a lot over the past two years, and the series of lockdowns has definitely made me appreciate connecting with my loved ones more.

I have also rediscovered the magic of letter writing and plan to write a few more over the next few weeks.

When was the last time you received something in the mail that wasn’t yet another bill or junk mail? It costs less than £1 to send a letter anywhere in the UK, so if you have half an hour free this bank holiday weekend, do someone a favor and write to them. I guarantee it will make them smile, and it’s also cheaper than buying them an Easter egg.

Speaking of chocolate indulgence, I admire anyone who can eat it in moderation.

Knowing that I’m an all-or-nothing chocolate addict, the most indulgent thing I’ll have will be a hot chocolate from my Tassimo machine while presenting shows on Tameside Radio!

I’m on the verge of losing two stone so far this year, and am so grateful to Gail and Jane at Slimming World Tameside for all their support so far.

It’s an amazing feeling to wear smaller clothes, and I might even celebrate by riding my bike this weekend.

Whatever your plans, I wish you a happy Easter, and let’s be there for each other in these difficult times of rising prices. Everyone deserves a little happiness.

You can listen to Alex every weekday from 7am to 11am and on the ‘Super Scoreboard’ show on Saturdays from 3pm to 7pm, on Tameside Radio 103.6FM.

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