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Cost of Living Crisis 2022-23

The economic backdrop for the UK has changed considerably over the past few months with higher oil, gas and commodity prices, fears of rising and persistent inflation and its damaging impact on consumers’ cost of living, little indication of an imminent end to Russia-Ukraine hostilities and supply chain bottlenecks exacerbated by war in Ukraine and lockdowns in China.

As reported nationally in the media, this is having a significant detrimental impact on funding and income available for residents and their ability afford their day to day bills and expenditure.

There are increasing reports of residents to making choices between heating or eating, being isolated in their homes due to no available money to pay for fuel or electricity and having to prioritise food over other basic but important needs.

The following reports provide a greater understanding of the issues, the data, the emerging themes and possible responses we could take locally alongside the potential impacts on Wirral residents and businesses. This is as local leaders across all sectors, gather information and intelligence, to direct their work to minimise the impacts and maximise the help.

We will update these pages as and when additional content becomes available.  

Cost of living – Best practice review (July 2022)

This report is an analysis of best practices across councils in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland in response to the cost-of-living (COL) crisis. To prepare for the report, material was analysed from a wide range of sources including local authority websites, news articles, online archives, independent think tank reports, and voluntary sector reports.

The report gives a brief history leading up to the COL crisis and it provides recommendations from the best practice analysis from councils across the four nations of the UK, for example, dealing with food and fuel poverty and building partnerships with community, voluntary and faith sector. Finally, it details the case studies and examples that were researched.

Cost of Living Crisis: Literature Review and Multiple Councils Best Practice Comparative Analysis (July 2022)

The above reports take the form of a two-part presentation.

The Literature Review takes a critical look at the effects of the cost-of-living crisis, both on Wirral residents, and people throughout the UK. It identifies the emerging themes cutting across the literature and examines the causes and interconnections between all themes.

The Multiple Councils Best Practice Comparative Analysis identifies the key impacts and challenges facing local authorities across the UK. Examples of some of the responses and solutions raised by councils, and recommendations of best practice going forward.

In October 2022, Wirral Council’s Qualitative Insight Team spoke to nine Wirral residents about their experiences of the cost-of-living crisis. The following report and videos provide a summary of the findings.

Case Study Report (October 2022) 

The report above provides a summary of themes and opportunities that were identified. The report includes written case studies of resident’s experiences.

The following videos share the stories of four people the researchers spoke to, including a business owner (Rafia), a couple (Pauline and Jack) and a single mother (Becky).

Case Study Video: Rafia's Story

Case Study Video: Pauline and Jack's Story

Case Study Video: Becky's Story

Community, Voluntary & Faith Proforma Analysis (October 2022)

In October 2022, Wirral Council’s Qualitative Insight Team gathered insight on how the rising cost-of-living was impacting community, voluntary and faith (CVF) sector organisations in Wirral. This report provides a summary of insight gathered from 24 CVF sector organisations including, the challenges and concerns they have as organisations around the rising cost-of-living, the impact of the rising cost-of-living reported by Wirral residents who access their organisations, and what additional support would benefit these CVF sector organisations and Wirral residents to mitigate against the rising cost-of-living.

Wirral Council - Policy and Resources Committee Report - August 2022

This report is prepared for an extraordinary meeting of the Committee called to enable the Council to respond to the cost of living crisis affecting the Borough and its residents caused by the current and predicted high energy costs and rapidly rising inflation impacting on business and residents’ incomes.

This supports the pledges in the Wirral Plan:

Brighter Futures to ensure children get the best start in life and are not subject to, as much as possible the impact of families in poverty. The support provided across the system will help families to mitigate the impact of the cost of living crisis.

Inclusive economy by supporting residents and businesses to maintain employment to ensure household income is forthcoming and employment opportunities are available

Active and Healthy Lives to ensure residents do not suffer long term impact of poor physical and mental health as a result of the crisis and help and support is available through partners to prevent this at an early stage as possible

The report affects all wards in the borough and is a key decision.

  • Cost of living Update - Office for National Statistics 

Their regular update brings together information and official statistics on the cost of living in the UK. 

The UK Economy roundup provides a short summary of new publications on the cost of living and the economy.

  • Cost of living hub - Local Government Association

This hub has been designed to share best practice and help councils to support their residents with the rise in the cost of living.

Case studies and resources can be found for each topic area in the pages below.

  • Fuel Poverty, Cold Homes and Health Inequalities in the UK - Institute of Health Equity

This is the third review of fuel poverty and cold homes from the Institute of Health Equity, following on from the briefing commissioned by PHE in 2014 the report commissioned by Friends of the Earth in 2011.