DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Families will pay the price of soaring wages

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Families will pay the price of soaring wages

If the Bank of England’s forecasts are right, even tougher times are hurtling down the track for British families.

True, we have learned to take the auguries of economists with a pinch of salt, as they so often turn out to be excessively gloomy. But these latest predictions are stark.

The Bank says we will slide into recession by the end of this year and stay there for more than a year, with inflation peaking above 13 per cent as fuel and food prices continue to soar.

As a result, the base lending rate was raised yesterday by 0.5 percentage points, the highest single jump for 27 years, with the likelihood of more to come.

Tough times are hurtling down the track for British families

This means escalating mortgages and loan repayments for families already struggling to make ends meet and the risk of a housing market slump.

Though as ever, the high street banks are not planning to pass on the full rate rise to savers – another slap in the face for their customers and a disincentive for thrift.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has been rightly criticised for being slow to react to spiking inflation, which was predicted even before the invasion of Ukraine.

As early as May last year, his own former Chief Economist Andy Haldane warned in this paper that ‘the inflation genie is out of the bottle’.

Had Mr Bailey begun raising interest rates modestly then and cut off the quantitative easing money supply, we may not be in such a precarious position now.

But we have been here before and must hold our nerve. As the Mail’s City Editor Alex Brummer wrote on this page yesterday, this is not the 1970s.

Our economy is in far better shape to bounce back once this global crisis is over. And with unemployment low, we should be better placed than most European countries to recover.

One thing is certain, however. Caving in to militant union demands for huge public sector wage increases will make the inflationary spiral infinitely deeper and more prolonged for everyone. The Government must not let that happen.

Callous lack of respect

It beggars belief that a 93-year-old, one-legged dementia sufferer could be tasered, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton and handcuffed by police inside an East Sussex care home.

It’s true that in his confused state Donald Burgess had threatened staff with a knife.

But as he was confined to a wheelchair, surely he could have been left to calm down for a while before the officers resorted to such appalling violence.

Described by friends as a naturally gentle man who was grieving the death of his wife, Mr Burgess died three weeks later and the two constables concerned are under criminal investigation.

But the fact they should have so little respect or concern for a sick and vulnerable citizen is a shocking enough indictment in itself.

Meanwhile, it was revealed yesterday that the use of ‘chemical cosh’ drugs on dementia sufferers in care homes increased by 50 per cent during the pandemic – another terrible legacy of lockdown.

It’s said that the test of a civilised society is whether it treats its elderly with dignity. With stories like these, can Britain really claim to be passing that test?

  • Despite a concerted drive by ministers to get Whitehall back to work, it was revealed yesterday that in several major departments the proportion of civil servants at their desks is actually falling. They were on full pay throughout the pandemic and have saved a fortune on commuting costs, yet the main public sector union is balloting for strike action in pursuit of a 10 per cent pay rise. What planet are they on?

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