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People tighten belts as basics become dearer

Posted on - 2nd March, 2011 - 10:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Housing, News, People, Politics

Edwin Booth, head of Booths supermarkets, has taken a different approach as purse strings tighten

Rising inflation levels and a worsening “income recession” means families may need to tighten their belts yet again.

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With costs increasing but wages staying static, it is feared many people will struggle to cope.

This will lead to poorer standards of living for most families, as basics like food and fuel become more expensive.

Criticism has been aimed at businesses, like supermarkets and energy suppliers, for pushing up prices during this time.

One store seemingly bucking the trend is Booths. Edwin Booth, the head of the company, says they have done as much as possible to keep costs low.

“At first, when the crisis began, we actually kept our prices down, because of the way the market was,” he said.

“We also found that interestingly people wanted better prices on individual items than on promotional offers, so we listened to them.”

‘Quality’

Mr Booth claims they are keeping costs of their own brands low while maintaining high quality.

“We wanted to do our upmost to have a product out which was well made at a price lower than other brands,” he said.

By the end of last year, food prices were on average 4.4% higher than they were in 2009.

The Consumer Prices Index rose to 4% in January, but wage growth stayed at 2%. This deficit, or “income recession”, was made worse by VAT increasing by 2.5%.

There are fears this could make employment figures even worse. There are already one in four people out of work in Lancashire.

City councillor Kate Calder thinks, despite the reduced jobs market, many people are still actively seeking work.

“Even though it seems it’s easier to just stay on benefits, I don’t think people really want to,” said the member for inclusion.

“The majority would rather have jobs, and I’m sure people would rather be in work than out of it.”

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Image rights belong to Flick user Mark Liebenberg.

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