This is what other European countries are doing to help with the cost of living crisis
Hopping over to the continent is sounding pretty appealing right now
The cost of living crisis seems to be going from bad to worse, with support offered by the UK government seeming inadequate compared to many other European countries.
This year UK salaries have fallen at the fastest rate in two decades, with the annual growth in regular pay dropping by 4.5 per cent, when adjusted for inflation. The repercussions this has on working people is only compounded by the rise in taxes, with the UK being the only major economy to put up taxes during the cost of living crisis, seeing an intended £13bn rise in National Insurance contributions.
With all of this going on, it is pivotal that the government takes steps to ease the impact of the rising prices that have characterised this crisis. The government increased the income threshold people can earn before paying National Insurance, to help with the cost of living crisis. This meant anyone earning less than around £34,000 a year will actually be paying less than they previously did, whilst those earning more than £34k will pay more.
However, the UK seems to be providing less support to the general public than many other countries in Europe. This is what other European counties are doing to help their citizens with the cost of living crisis:
One of the biggest elements in the cost of living crisis is the vastly increased cost of energy. The energy price cap in the UK rose by 54 per cent in April this year, and new forecasts suggest it will increase by 81% in October, with a further 19% rise predicted in January.
In France the price increase was capped at four per cent. Ireland and The Netherlands reduced VAT on energy by up to 13.5 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.
Anyone who’s had the misfortune of having to fill up their car in recent months may have noticed that the price of fuel has skyrocketed: the Office for National Statistics reported that in June the average price of petrol was 184p per litre, the highest price since records began in 1990 and up from 129.7p last year.
To combat the impact this has on the consumer, in March the UK government introduced a fuel duty reduction of 5p per litre. However, this is almost the lowest fuel tax reduction in Europe.
Germany has cut tax on petrol by around 25p per litre and France has implemented a 15p-per-litre reduction in fuel tax. Ireland has cut fuel duty by around 15p per litre for petrol.
The RAC reported that the UK is “languishing near the bottom of the table of the 13 countries that have actually done something to help with the price of fuel”, noting that out of 13 European nations that have cut tax on petrol, only Luxembourg has done less.
So now that driving is more expensive, perhaps public transport has been made cheaper? Perhaps not. The Times reports that a £2 cap is due to be placed on all local and regional bus journeys from October. However, the price of long-distance coach services will remain unchanged, and no plans have been made to reduce train fares which have already increased by 3.8 per cent this year.
Other European countries have gone to greater lengths to increase the accessibility of public transport during the cost of living crisis. Germany implemented a €9 a month ticket scheme, which covers travel on all modes of urban and regional transport from June to the end of August.
Italy offered students and workers earning below €35,000 a €60 voucher to help with the cost of catching all forms of public transport. Ireland has reduced fares on public transport by 20 per cent for the general population, and by 50 per cent for those aged 19 to 23.
Spain has taken reductions a step further. In addition to a 30 per cent discount on all public transport, travel across certain parts of the state-owned rail network, Renfe, will be free from 1st September until the end of the year.
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