Against a backdrop of the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate hitting 10.1 per cent last month, calls from businesses and residents for more support to cope with the cost-of-living crisis are growing louder.

Rising prices for products and services, from food to energy, means consumers are feeling the pinch and sees Conservative leadership hopefuls Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss split on how to deal with the issue.

In Havering, the impact of rising prices is being felt sharply.

Corrina Amey, who owns Corrina Sue in The Liberty, Romford, said retail has been “hit on all sides”, not only by “footfall going down”, but also people not having “surplus income”.

Prior to owning the shop, which has been open for 12 years, Corrina traded on Romford Market for 25 years.

The 37-year-old said: “Now we have to pay more money for our electricity even if we know we’ve got fewer people coming in.

“In the summer we’re paying for the fans.”

She thinks a new government would help the situation, but recognises there’s "no quick fix”.

Tom Fletcher, area contract manager at Everyone Active, which runs the Harrow Lodge Leisure Centre, said the company has found costs are two to three times higher than in 2019/2020.

Romford Recorder: Tom FletcherTom Fletcher (Image: Everyone Active)

“This is particularly significant for our industry due to the energy usage, particularly in swimming pools, and the volume of people that use our facilities to maintain their physical and mental wellbeing,” he said.

“We continue to work together with industry bodies and our authority partners to ensure that we invest in our facilities and best support local communities.”

Local MPs Jon Cruddas (Lab, Dagenham and Rainham) and Julia Lopez (Con, Hornchurch and Upminster) agreed more must be done, but differed in their approach.

Mr Cruddas accused the current government of being “do-nothing”, adding Labour’s plan to put a cap on energy costs would provide “immediate relief” for families.

Romford Recorder: Dagenham and Rainham Labour MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: HM Government.Dagenham and Rainham Labour MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: HM Government. (Image: Archant)

Ms Lopez, however, noted the aid announced by the government so far, such as the £400 discount which households are due to begin receiving in October, and said both leadership candidates recognise more support is required.

“This is the number one issue for the country at the moment and I know that it will be the immediate priority of the eventual winner," she said. "I look forward to working with either candidate to provide assistance to households."

How much are energy prices predicted to rise?

While rising inflation is the result of a range of different elements, a key driver in this instance is the escalating cost of energy.

And according to energy market intelligence company Cornwall Insights, it expects dramatic increases again in October and January.

In April, the average annual direct debit gas and electricity bill jumped from £1,277 to £1,971 due to the price cap being lifted by Ofgem, the independent regulator of energy costs.

Cornwall Insights predicts October's increase will be considerably higher, jumping to an average of £3,582, before being hiked again in January to £4,266.

In Havering, council support announced so far includes free school meals for eligible recipients during holiday time and boosting the Havering Helps Scheme, which aids struggling residents buy food and replace white goods.

Council leader Ray Morgon said: "The council is exploring other ways that it can help residents through this cost-of-living crisis, including lobbying the government to support those most affected by the increased costs."


Pamela Dryer, 67 and from Dagenham, said the price increases haven’t impacted her at the moment, but this may change once winter comes.

Romford Recorder: Pamela DryerPamela Dryer (Image: Chantelle Billson)

Pamela owns her property but said she will need to make sacrifices to pay her bills.

She said cuts will be made on “socialising and going out”.

“They’ve got to do something [the government]," she told this paper, adding: “Our savings were supposed to be used to help us enjoy life."

Pamela said she has never seen hardship like this throughout her lifetime.


Christian, who would prefer not to disclose his surname, is from Romania and works nightshifts for the London Underground.

Romford Recorder: ChristianChristian (Image: Chantelle Billson)

He said: “In the winter months it will be more expensive and where I live everything is electric including the heating and the oven."

Christian, who has two children, said “you feel it differently” when trying to provide for a family.

He said: “You would cut something for yourself so you can provide for your family.”

The 45-year-old believes more jobs need to be provided and tax shouldn’t be raised.

“The gas CEOs are taking home huge salaries. They receive huge bonuses and make big profits.

“It feels like they are robbing in a legal way.”

Christian added: “You receive the same amount of energy, but you have to pay more – it's not fair.”


Gee Sabharwal, 40, owns the Drunken Duck Gifts business in Romford’s Mercury Mall.

Romford Recorder: Gee SabharwalGee Sabharwal (Image: Chantelle Billson)

He said: “All these increases are affecting the business already.

“Normally the summertime is good for business, but the takings from February were much higher than what we’re doing now.

“People are walking around looking at stuff, appreciating it, but no one is buying it.

“Honestly, it’s even hard to cover the rent.”

The 40-year-old said he has been running the business since 2009 and thinks this is the worst year so far.

He said: “It’s not looking to get any better either.

“The last two Christmases were affected by coronavirus and I just hope this year doesn't get affected by all the increases.”

Gee said the government’s decision to cut the universal credit uplift also impacted the business, as customers had less to spend.

He said: “It feels like all the money from small businesses has been taken and given to a few businesses which are flourishing, such as Amazon.

"Only big chains are doing well while the small businesses are disappearing.”