Naked Politics Blogger
It’s never easy to achieve the luxurious lifestyle we all aspire to have one day. And unfortunately, I believe it’s about to get harder.
The cost of living is on the rise, and it is affecting everyone in some way or another. As a result of the increase of energy, childcare and transport costs, families “need to earn £40,000” if they wish to live a life of a “decent standard.” If all essential costs are considered, such as: maintenance of the home, kids’ needs, insurance and general emergency care, it seems that even £40,000 is not enough. In particular, it is common knowledge that students don’t always have the deepest of pockets, due to their living expenses. Therefore, the strain on young adults, who are juggling academia and part-time work plus living expenses, is understandably much greater.
To make matters worse, house prices are on the rise, especially in the East Midlands (by 6.5%); Halifax explains that the number of homes “on the market in 2018” was considerably less when compared to the past 10 years. With a population of 66,825, 163 (and growing), a shortage of houses for sale in the UK is anything but good news. Young people are, once again, hit hard with the latest soar in rent prices; BBC News reports that rents for a one-bed home “eat up more than 30%” of an ordinary salary, and concludes that a £51,200 is the minimum advised salary to afford the rent of a one-bedroom property in London. So, it is no surprise that such incredibly expensive prices leave little or no room for saving. Considering the weight of student loans that are fresh on the shoulders of recent graduates, and the price of a property in addition to the usual expenditure, the cost of a decent life is mind-boggling. It almost brings us to accept the pessimistic belief that “decent” has become unattainable.
As for medication, it is another cost to add to the expenditure list, removing hopes of affording the smaller luxuries to treat oneself from time to time. But, before we, the inhabitants of the UK, think we are worse off, US citizens argue that they are caught up paying a larger amount for prescription drugs “than almost anyone in the world”; 45% of revenue for prescription medication comes from the US, and 55% from all others. Nevertheless, the price of medication from the NHS in the UK is still a hefty amount, to the extent that “people are paying with their lives.” The charge for prescription medication is £8.80 per item; though this may not seem like a huge amount, it is surprising how quickly costs can accumulate.
In spite of the Government’s efforts to level out the costs by introducing saving programs, the impact of medication expenses will inevitably continue to be felt by a majority of citizens. Although young people are not required to pay if they are studying full-time, it is something they will have to deal with once they complete their degree and progress further in their lives. In difficult circumstances, young people, among others, may even decide to avoid using medication in an effort to bypass the financial toll it would have on them.
Evidently, this wouldn’t be safe, but who is to blame? The NHS is given medication by pharmaceutical companies, and has no control over the price they pay, though it would be an ideal situation if they did. There are talks of the government’s plans to “increase the amount of funding” given to pharmaceutical companies to “rebate the NHS on drug sales.” This is expected to save the NHS £152m by 2021; this may raise hopes of cheaper medication and thus, a relieved financial burden on the country.
Life comes with many expenses, and it is an unavoidable fact that something must be given in return for a benefit. However, it is true that the rising expenses are affecting a significant proportion of people (physically as well as mentally), including young adults, who are only just finding their balance in the outside world. Yet, it can be argued that a higher cost of living may inspire a greater work ethic and determination among the younger generation to achieve a comfortable lifestyle. On the other hand, concerns about draining the population and a universal feeling of hopelessness are equally valid.
Times are tough, but the facilities offered to UK citizens are extremely valuable; yes, it is costly to live in the UK, but the safety, education, medical care and other amenities provided are something to be grateful for. As for the things we do not yet have, there is always hope. Hope for change, for the betterment of society and an improved access to facilities for everyone.