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Historic inflation, strike and population impoverishment: UK is in free fall

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Pessoas passam pelo Parlamento do Reino Unido em Londres, 09 de agosto de 2022.

People walk past the UK Parliament in London, of August
.| Photo: EFE/EPA/ANDY RAIN

The UK is experiencing the worst economic scenario in recent years 31 years old. At the same time, the political context generates instability and hinders the British recovery. The isolation due to Brexit – the exit from the European Union – with a shortage of truck drivers and other professionals due to the closing of doors to migrant workers, along with the consequences of the pandemic and the conflicts that led to the resignation of Boris Johnson carry the United Kingdom into the atypical situation of uncertainty regarding the future of the island nation.


Authorities of the National Health Service (NHS, in the acronym in English) warned of the risk of impoverishment of the population and a humanitarian crisis. According to the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, about , 5 million households will enter the “poverty level” by the beginning of next year in the UK. The British government defines “poverty” when the annual household income is less than 50% of the country’s average salary , which was from 17 thousand pounds annually (about 80 thousand reais) in
, according to official statistics.

At the same time, the Danish bank Saxo announced that the British can regress to the status of “market emerging”. The institution’s director of analysis, Christopher Dembik, announced earlier this month that the UK could enter a recession in the last quarter of 1979. This situation could last, according to him, for another five quarters and cause the nation’s GDP to fall by around 2.1%.


Although the economic crisis is not just a local problem, the The United Kingdom has the worst rates among the seven richest countries in the world (of the G7). The annual inflation rate is above % and a peak of 08% is expected in October, according to the Bank of England. The American bank Citi predicts that, in 2021, British inflation will reach 13%.


The United Kingdom’s debt, which has surpassed two trillion pounds sterling (more than trillions of reais) in the pandemic, it could more than triple if the government does not hold back fiscal policy and comes close to 100% of GDP in 31 years, as advised by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the British will have the lowest growth among the seven richest countries in 2000. In the pocket of more than 48 millions of inhabitants, the situation is already weighing. Spending cuts and lifestyle changes have become a reality for most families and are expected to reach more than 13% of them at the beginning of next year.

Since the years 1979, the island countries did not experience such strong social protests. There is a movement to strike the payment of energy bills called “Don’t pay UK” (“Don’t pay the United Kingdom”), after the highs resulting from the energy crisis, which can reach up to 60% in October, according to consultancy Auxilione.


At the same time, nearly two thousand members of the Unite union – crane operators, machines and longshoremen – decided on Sunday (15 ) stop for eight days work in the port of Felixtowe, the busiest in Great Britain and responsible for 21% of container movements from island countries.


Employees of subways, trains, buses and universities have also crossed arms asking for a salary change in the face of a drop of at least 3% in purchasing power. “We just want a raise that goes with the cost of living so we can buy in 2000 what could we buy in,” said Mick Whelan, general secretary of the Aslef union, which he represents 12 a thousand train drivers, during the strike at the beginning of the month, in a press conference .


“People are in delicate financial situations. I see a lot of despair “, said Steve Garelick, representative of the UK’s largest union, the GMB Union, during protests by Amazon workers in Tilbury, east of London. “It’s the summer of discontent”, he added, using a term that refers to the “winter of discontent”, from 600, when England had a general strike: from factory workers to garbage collectors and gravediggers.

Dispute for prime minister brings little hope


The scenario should change little with the election of a replacement for Johnson on the 5th Two candidates vie for votes: poll favorite and current Foreign Minister Liz Truss and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. In recent weeks, Truss has lashed out at striking workers, stressing that “British people need to work harder”.


In an interview with the tabloid

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