In the United Kingdom, in these neighborhoods where you have to choose between heating and eating

Posted today at 02:09

Helen Walker opens the meter installed in front of her front door, presses a button and observes: “That’s for the gas. I have left… 1 pound credit [1,20 euro]. » In the hallway of her apartment, she opens another meter: “For electricity, I have left… 1.79 pounds. It must last until Wednesday, when I will receive my salary. » But it’s Friday. Will it be enough? “It will be necessary. »

Like the vast majority of the inhabitants of this poor district of Radcliffe, in the great northern suburbs of Manchester, Mme Walker has a prepaid gas and electric system. You have to top up a card at the local grocer to add credits, then insert it into the meter. Otherwise, it’s the cut.

A cat sitting on the gas meter of a house in Radcliffe, May 6.

Since 1er April, like all Britons, Mme Walker suffers a price shock. The ceiling for electricity and gas, which is framed by the regulator, has suddenly increased by 54%. The Scottish by birth estimates that, for her, the bill has doubled. “Before, I was putting about 30 pounds a week on my counters. Now it’s more like 60 pounds. » Or about 12% of all his income of 486 pounds per month, a meager salary for his three hours of cleaning a day in a company, to which are added some social aid.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers With the Covid-19, poverty exploded in the United Kingdom: “I tell myself that I am different from these people. And yet, my fridge is empty”

During the winter, she managed to avoid cuts, unlike Kevin Croft, who lives in the same neighborhood. At 68, recently divorced and living on a pension of 650 pounds a month, he regularly found himself without heating. “I went to bed with my hat, thermal underwear, coat and shoes. It was colder inside than outside. »

A schoolboy on his bike in Radcliffe, May 6.

“Inflation affects everyone”

The district of Radcliffe, with its brick houses rented at low prices by the town hall, did not wait for the current surge in inflation to be poor. Paper mills have been closed for decades, and the warehouses that replace them don’t offer as well-paying jobs. But here, rising prices are hitting harder than elsewhere, because no one has any margin of financial safety.

Volunteers from Radcliffe Baptist Church serve coffee to a man, on the sidelines of a food distribution, May 6, 2022.

Food banks are overflowing with requests. “We have the impression of having returned to the panic of the beginning of the pandemic [de Covid-19], when the emergency aid was not yet in place, except that, this time, it is difficult to see how the increase will stop”explains Sabine Goodwin, of the Independent Food Aid Network, a network of food banks.

Contrary to what is done in many countries, the British government has chosen to practically not introduce exceptional aid

You have 61.51% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here