In our most recent session, Generate Voices discussed something that may be difficult for others to talk about, the Cost-of-Living Crisis which has impacted many people in the country.
Also, they went on to discuss the problems they face with using their preferred methods to pay money.
The members decided that it was time to share their thoughts and concerns on both of these.
Members spoke about the many changes in prices that they have noticed in the past year:
These include essential things like food and bills, even the things we like and treat ourselves to.
One member noticed that food that he likes has gone up whist petrol has also gone up and he’s planning to start driving soon.
Terry added “Rail fares and general transport prices have also increased.”
Jodian said “Rent has gone up!”
Michelle added “Household bills have gone up.”
Rio was concerned about this and said, “I don’t know when this will get better.”
Tony and Chiz signposted members to the help that is available for them which include government websites, webinars, schemes, teams and hubs. Many places that can help with budgeting, managing money, accessing food banks etc.
However, what was most important was asking what would the members think should be done about the cost-of-living crisis?
Luis said “Prices must be put down, as people can’t afford to buy important things! If this continues, there will be more people with depression and anxiety.”
Jodian wondered “How many times will the prices keep going up? Now I have to save more of my money by putting my coins in a piggy bank!”
Rio added “It’s important to only buy things that you need like food and heating, also your house bills.”
Michelle said “Prices have gone up but benefits and wages are not rising. This is not right and needs to be balanced by wages and benefits going up as well, then people won’t suffer from missing out on essential things!”
Everyone agreed with this.
Jodian said. “By using a bank card, you don’t need to have change, and this makes it easier for people who are uncomfortable with using cash! Also, many people with learning disabilities are vulnerable with cash!”
Rio said, “Some families are not even able to feed their children.”
Michelle added “Using cards can be good, but it may be a problem with those who don’t have accounts or understand how banking works, so everybody needs to do what they are comfortable with.”
Rio said, “I’m used to cash handling, but I struggle with online transactions!”
One member said that some companies only accept cash or card, and this is not fair. He prefers to use a card.
Terry said, “I see a lot of people using different methods to spend but it is just important to focus on spending on essentials first! However, I feel that the government are not actually doing anything really about it! Being on Universal Credit is not enough and I find it a struggle without a job in addition to this!”
“Also, companies can do their part by consulting before putting prices up” Terry added “If transport strikes and disruptions continue, it will be bad!”
Michelle said, “I’m struggling with the rising heating bills, as I have other bills and it’s really expensive!”
Terry also shared his own experience with not being able to use cash to pay. “One time, I wanted to use cash to buy a bag I wanted, but they refused to sell me the bad even though I had 5 pounds in cash. This is not fair!”
Jodian added “It was understandable during the pandemic, but now everywhere seems to expect to use a card and this is not fair!”
The members were glad that they were discussing this difficult subject as they feel that this goes unnoticed and has an effect on people with learning disabilities! As a way to assist them during the crisis, members are open to discussing money management in depth at a future session.
If you’re interested in Generate Voices and the sessions we run, please do get in touch with the Generate Voices Coordinators, Chiz and Tony!