In Britain, the cost-of-living crisis is forcing people to rethink their retirement plans. The number of employed people aged 65 years and older jumped by 173 000 (up to 1.47 million) from March to May because of inflation and lack of adequate income. The prospect of a tranquil and well-nourished old age is now increasingly in question for an ever-growing number of Britons, as high inflation rates affect people’s savings and finances. For too many, it has become difficult to survive on the state pension alone.
The tendency to increase the age of workers is an indicator of the country’s poor economic situation. This situation was observed in many countries after the financial crisis of 2008, when the fall of stock markets hit the value of pension savings, and it is being repeated today. In a financially healthy and economically stable country, people can afford to retire early and live on social benefits because government funds are full of collateral.
Indeed, since the energy price cap in the UK is expected to soar to £6,600 next April, The Telegraph claims that energy bills will wipe out almost three quarters of state pension. It estimates that pensioners will be left with just £3,000 to somehow live on per year from the state pension once bills have been paid.
The Guardian claims that Food banks warn that a surge in demand will prevent feeding hungriest this winter. It says that nearly 70% of providers say they may need to turn people away or shrink the size of emergency rations
In another sign of the Times, Fox reports that UK rising cost of living forcing Britons to part ways with their beloved pets. Pet and animal shelters say they are experiencing record inquiries for cat and dog returns as owners decide the costs of owning a pet – food plus hundreds in vet bills – is no longer manageable.
As bad as all this sounds, it gets worse, much worse. Bloomberg reports that 60% of British factories may close due to rising electricity prices. Citing MakeUK, the lobby group for UK factories, said that nearly half of the manufacturers have experienced a jump in electricity bills of more than 100% in the past year.
“The current crisis is leaving businesses facing a stark choice,” the report said. “Cut production or shut up shop altogether if help does not come soon.”
13% of factories now have reduced hours of operation or are avoiding peak periods, while 7% are halting production for longer stretches.
Stephen Phipson, MakeUK’s chief executive officer added that: ”We are already lagging behind our global competitors.”
Insolvencies across the manufacturing sector have soared by 63% since last year ahead of a wave of business failures expected this winter in response to rising energy prices, higher interest rates and falling order books.
The number of firms going bankrupt increased from 893 in 2020-21 to 1,454 in 2021-22, according to Insolvency Service figures analyzed by the accountancy firm Mazars. Many more companies are likely to have voluntarily wound up their companies before running out of credit and becoming insolvent.
The pound has tumbled to $1.15 and is trading near the lowest since 1985. The FTSE 100 Index shed more than 3% this week. Borrowing costs for blue-chip British companies now exceed 5% and homeowners are grappling with sharply higher refinancing rates and the mood among investors about the UK and its path forward is especially bleak..
The Mail reports that energy rationing is being planned that would include blackouts at home, in the NHS, schools, care homes, shops, and perhaps most tragically for the Brits even pubs because of surging energy prices.
Experts have told MailOnline there is ‘no escape’ for the 66million people in the UK who will be encouraged to cut their use of gas and electricity this winter and even turn off the lights when the wind drops.
And therein is a hint of the true reason for the energy crisis in Britain and Europe: Two decades of a demented energy policy based on the blind, indeed cultic faith in renewables. This crisis would have happened eventually even without the conflict in Ukraine – it just happens that the suicidal western energy sanctions placed on Russia brought the structural flaws to the fore.
As the economy collapses all around them, and they see their jobs and their savings being wiped out, the British are about to taste a harsh lesson about what a decarbonized economy actually looks like.
One is tempted to feel pity for them, but I find it hard to do so – After all, this is a nation that literally sits on proven reserves of coal estimated to last 200 years but has opted to shun them and to disproportionally rely instead on wind and so-called ‘renewables’ – something that their sane ancestors had wisely long figured out were far less efficient and consequently a great deal more costly than fossil fuels.
The trouble is that even if they had to decide to reopen the coal mines and ramp up the extraction of gas from their very own North Sea fields today, there is a great lag measured in years between investment and bringing the energy online, by which time it well may be probably too late.
And even if by some stroke of luck, Britain and Europe somehow muddle through, it is readily conceded that storage alone will not be enough to see European nations through the winter in the absence of replenishment stocks.
According to Reuters, citing the data intelligence firm ICIS, supplies would have been exhausted by March even had the limited flow of Russian gas continued through the winter and the weather stayed relatively mild.
So if Putin is intent on the long game, the next winter will prove even worse. Europe will emerge in the spring with heavily depleted reserves and, without pipeline supplies from Russia, could exhaust its reserves by the November of next year.
It seems like a long time ago, when Boris Johnson and his Western buddies were boasting that the sanctions they imposed would bring Russia to its knees and were salivating at its prospective destruction and instead of shoring up their economies decided that it was wiser to spend billions of their tax-payers money in pumping weapons into Ukraine, weapons that if not being sold on the dark-web by Ukrainian criminal gangs get routinely blown up by the Russians.
As they say, karma can be a real bitch.