Asda research shows we need to tackle living costs

Last week Asda reported with the calculation of its latest Asda Income Tracker data for January (release) that "UK families were £5 a week better off in January 2013 compared to the same month last year, but still had £3 less than they did two years ago". Today Shore Capital's Clive Black remarked:

if sterling’s value remains at or below current levels for a sustained period of time then oil, food and other imported costs can be expected to rise.

The story of the UK's economy is presently one of rising employment but with falling productivity. A falling pound could worsen that situation by driving up the costs of living. As Allister Heath notes, an injection of competitive capitalism could reduce living costs and unburden families:

One MP who has been thinking about these sorts of matters is Dominic Raab, a thoughtful Tory who is campaigning for “capitalism for the little guy”. His main idea, contained in a pamphlet out today from the Centre for Policy Studies, is simple: the power of markets and especially competition need to be harnessed to boost consumer choice, slash prices and improve customer service in the energy, water, retail banking, schools and health sectors, all industries with a low reputation that are helping turn the public against business and capitalism. Raab’s reforms would deliver tangible benefits to millions of consumers, put them back in charge, relegitimise profits in those industries and signal that competitive capitalism is the real answer to cronyism, corporatism and class warfare.

(Full article)