Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement decisions will not support ‘just about managing’ families – they will instead face both lower earnings and benefit cuts
Slower growth and higher inflation will mean higher borrowing and a parliament of falling living standards for millions – with the Chancellor missing an opportunity to provide much-needed support for just managing families – the Resolution Foundation said today in response to the Autumn Statement.
The Office for Budget Responsibility says that lower GDP growth, higher inflation and weaker earnings will increase borrowing by £84bn between today and 2020/21, with £59bn of that related to the decision to leave the EU.
In the face of significant extra borrowing the Chancellor has actually chosen to loosen fiscal policy further with a £14bn infrastructure programme and further classification changes, leading to a total of £122bn extra borrowing. The Foundation says that while such forecasts are highly uncertain they point to a structural deterioration in the public finances.
Today’s economic outlook also points to a significant weakening of living standards. New Resolution Foundation analysis shows that average real earnings are now forecast to be £830 a year lower in 2020, compared to the March 2016 outlook. The Foundation notes that just under half of this hit is due to higher inflation, with the reminder due to slower nominal earning growth. This also means that the National Living Wage, which is tied to typical earnings, is now forecast to rise to £8.80 in 2020 – lower than the much-discussed £9 figure.
The Foundation says that measures to raise the National Living Wage (NLW), provide some in-work support through Universal Credit, fund more affordable homes and ban up-front rental fees are welcome, but they fall well short of the action needed to make a big difference to living standards and support just managing families.
The Foundation notes that while the Chancellor has accepted significantly higher borrowing, he has chosen to leave the vast bulk of the planned welfare cuts intact, with welcome measures announced today doing little to reduce the big losses facing millions of just managing families.
New Resolution Foundation analysis shows that the double whammy of weaker earnings growth and ongoing benefit cuts mean that the poorest third of households are set to face falling household incomes over the parliament.
Looking at the impact across different family types, the Foundation finds that:
• A couple with two children (main earner working full-time on the NLW) will be £1,780 worse off overall despite measures announced today boosting their incomes by £190
• A couple with two children (one working full-time and the other working part-time on the NLW) will be £870 worse off overall despite measures announced today boosting incomes by £430.
Torsten Bell, Director of the Resolution Foundation, said:
“The big picture today is the new Chancellor accepting a major increase in borrowing, partly off the back of the Brexit vote, and choosing to increase it further with an expensive but welcome increase in capital spending. The result is £122 billion additional borrowing, with national debt reaching 90 per cent of GDP next year.
“The outlook for family finances that lies behind the big growth and borrowing figures is also bleak, with average earnings set to be £830 lower by the end of the parliament than previously forecast.
“Despite increasing borrowing elsewhere, the Chancellor has left the big welfare cuts intact and chosen not to provide significant support for the just managing families that Theresa May has rightly said she is focused on.
“The double whammy of lower earnings and benefit cuts mean that the poorest third of households are now set to face a parliament of falling living standards. In the months and years ahead the key task facing the government is to turn that situation around.”
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .