Retail trade union Usdaw has called on the government to take immediate action to tackle the soaring cost of living crisis, as inflation reaches a 40 year high and wages continue to be devalued by rising prices.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Consumer Prices Index inflation increased to 9% in the year to April and regular pay excluding bonuses dropped by 2.9% in March.
However, The Retail Price Index (RPI), which the Usdaw view as a ‘more accurate measure of inflation’ increased to 11.1%.
With RPI at 11.1% and real wages falling by 2.9%, the Usdaw said it is ‘staggering’ that the government still refuses to tackle the cost of living crisis.
The trade union has called for the government to announce an emergency budget that includes, levying windfall tax on the ‘huge profits’ of North Sea oil and gas producers, reducing value added tax (VAT), increasing social security payments by at least the level of inflation, and an overhaul of Universal Credit.
“The Government is clearly out of touch with the real lives of low-paid working people, as last night Conservative MPs voted down Labour’s proposal for a windfall tax,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said.
“They chose to protect the huge profits of oil and gas producers, against helping workers who are struggling to make ends meet, on the day that evidence shows that wages are falling and ahead of news of raging inflation.”
Lillis added: “There is a clear need for Government intervention to support people claiming in-work welfare payments and we call for an immediate increase to all social security payments by at least the level of inflation.”
“However, the cost of living crisis is clearly affecting all low paid workers, not just those in receipt of in-work welfare payments.