The election coverage over the past few weeks has witnessed the cost of living crisis being framed as a critical concern requiring urgent attention.
Each party has proposed solutions involving various sums of money being handed out to the public. But there’s been no attempt by parties to face up to the truth that politicians helped bring about this crisis.
The financial expert Martin Lewis has expressed concerns that the events in eastern Europe are being used to explain away the sudden increase in the cost of living. The truth is the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces has only exacerbated a problem which was already in place.
Prior to this year, the western world was placed into repeated lockdowns by politicians who did not take into consideration the wider impact such actions would have upon society.
Economies throughout Europe were subject to restrictions by those who argued that the healthcare sector was to be prioritised irrespective of what such actions would mean for the economy. Dissenting voices were often accused of ‘prioritising wealth before health’.
We are now witnessing the fallout from such groupthink. Increasing the amount of money in society through the furlough scheme while at the same time restricting the natural flow of trade within local economies has helped stoke inflation.
The sudden increase in demand for energy as restrictions eased only exacerbated this problem as increased costs incurred by businesses and supporting industries are passed on to the consumer.
Many outlets, particularly in the hospitality sector, have inflated prices to help make up for lost revenue and pay off debts accrued because of lockdowns.
The cost of living crisis is entirely on the political class. Local politicians sacrificed the wellbeing of the economy for the sake of a virus with a mortality rate of less than 1% in order to protect a health service which, ironically, depends upon the tax take from the private sector to sustain itself.
The political class here in Northern Ireland ought to be reminded of this every time the topic is brought up in conversation.