IGP Stories

Addressing the UK’s Livelihood Crisis: Beyond the Price of Energy

Alexandra Boothroyd

12 December

The UK is suffering a sustained crisis, as the cost of living and energy prices soar. In recent months, and across successive changes in leadership, the government has announced various policies to mitigate the effects, yet they have failed to act systemically. The government’s response so far has reflected a reactive fixation on the rising price of energy, but the UK is ultimately facing a deeper livelihood crisis, that exists at the nexus of rising food, transport and energy prices, high levels of inequality, and an unsustainable dependence on fossil fuels. This crisis demands a whole systems approach, underpinned by the principles of equality and sustainability.

In the new working paper Addressing the UK’s Livelihood Crisis: Beyond the Price of Energy, the Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) analyses the cost of living crisis through a livelihood lens: exploring what the implementation of an expanded social protection system, in the form of Universal Basic Services (UBS), could mean for the cost of living crisis, and how it could ultimately work to secure livelihoods in the long-term.

British livelihood security is at an all-time low, having been progressively eroded since the 1970s. Recent analysis by the IGP shows that every region in England now scores low on at least one of the five pillars necessary for secure and prosperous lives: secure income and work, access to key basic services, food and energy security, economic, financial, social and digital inclusion, and secure and affordable housing. The current crisis is eroding this security even further, as housing, food, transport and information technology are all subject to rising prices and declining accessibility.

The livelihood crisis ultimately highlights an urgent need to adapt both our economies and the ideologies that inform them. This working paper highlights that the IGP’s programme of UBS, with energy as a pillar, would help to address the systemic drivers of the crisis by promoting an energy system that is citizen rather than profit-led, and that re-centres the principles of equality and sustainability. In conjunction with the support offered across the areas of housing, food, transport, and information, this would ultimately help to provide long-term livelihood security, for all.

Read the working paper here.

Image Credit: Matthew Henry on Unsplash

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