Making the pounds meet the ends has become increasingly harder in the past year or two. Food prices have gone up. Flour for example is twice the price now than it was a year ago. Everything that is made of flour has gone up in price as well as a result. Fuel prices have gone up whether you want to heat your home or run the car it costs a lot more now than it did. There are fewer jobs as organisations become leaner and meaner in order to survive. One organisation I know of had never had to shed jobs until last summer when they had a minor reorganisation. This summer they are having a major reorganisation and with 20-30% of the job disappearing. Even the tax man is getting tougher as they are trying even harder to find people who have tried to escape paying tax.
Everything is being squeezed and people are starting to squeal. Those who are squealing the loudest at the moment are those who are being asked to contribute to more to their pensions. A few years ago it would have been unheard of for people to threaten strike action because they were being asked to pay more for their pensions. There would be strikes for more pay or because people disagreed with government policy like becoming less dependent on coal as an energy source.
I have even had one person tell me that they intend to stay at home on the day of the strikes in case they get caught up in any unpleasantness. This is because strikes by angry people have in the past turned very unpleasant. Even the strikers have called some situations battles. Hardly surprising when the TV showed police in riot gear and people from both sides walk away from the scene covered in blood. I am hoping that this is an over reaction but only time will tell.
Somehow we need to find other ways in which to make the pounds meet the ends. The aim of one of the course that we are working on at the moment is to help people find alternative ways of surviving the current situation. It is based on our bridge model where we look at how to make good choices in terms of spending and finding an income because the right foundations are in place. I wish it did not take so long to prepare these materials as they are needed today not next month. There again good things take time to produce.