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Equality
Economics

The Five Million People Left at Mercy of Britain’s Cost of Living Crisis

One in 12 people in the U.K. are already using credit schemes to buy basics such as food and toiletries. Now more people are turning to payday loans.

Recipients queue at a food bank at George Square in Glasgow, U.K.

Recipients queue at a food bank at George Square in Glasgow, U.K.

Photographer: Emily Macinnes/Bloomberg

A crippling increase in energy bills, food costs rising at the fastest rate in a decade and the cost of borrowing going up: the price shock is indiscriminate. But for some in the U.K. it will be more indiscriminate than others, and that’s down to politics rather than economics.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak told a parliamentary committee on March 28 that he opted to support working people rather than those who are unable to find a job. The government could have put the money into the welfare system, he acknowledged. “That is absolutely the choice that someone else could have made,” Sunak said.