Why these Leicester traders fear soaring costs of living will force them out of work

Market traders say the cost of living increases will hit them hard, Jane Hesketh Reports

Market and shop traders in Leicester have said the soaring costs of living have left them fearing for their future.

Vicki Morris has been working at her fruit and veg stall on Leicester market since she was 12 years old.

She said she loves her job but the soaring cost of wholesale prices means times are really hard.

Speaking to ITV News Central Reporter Jane Hesketh, Ms Morris said: "Fruit and vegetables, prices aren't the same daily, we have to go down and bid for what we buy.

"I could get a box of bananas one day for £6, today it's £17, so it's a massive difference".

She says inflation rises have also played a big part in rising costs.

Vicki explains how the rising costs are affecting simple things like the cost of a bowl of bananas

Ms Morris adds: "It's made a massive difference really. You never know what to expect from one week to the next, what I'm going to take in the way of wages. 

"Cost of living has gone up but my wages haven't, so it's very worrying times for a market trader. 

"I've noticed if you look round yourselves, there's not many stallholders here, now, there's not many customers, so it is quite scary".

Tim Pole says he doesn't know what the future holds for his cheese stall business

Tim Pole kept his cheese stall open in Leicester throughout lockdown, but says takings were down 40 to 50 per cent, and now his costs are rising fast.

Mr Pole said: "Prices are going up and they're going up daily not weekly now, we've just had to cut down costs, and what we take out the business. 

"We don't know what the future is - that is the problem. 

"Fuel prices don't help, because they go onto everyone else's running costs, deliveries. 

"Everyone has got to earn a wage at the end of the day.

"For myself we still have bills to pay, still have electric, gas, mortgages, loans, our hours had to change, we do less hours now because the business is not here."

Tim Pole at his cheese stall Credit: ITV News Central

According to debt advice agencies, there are now among millions of people across the UK who are struggling to cover their essential household costs.

Some people are cutting back on how much they spend on food, or eating less, so they can pay for heating.

Many people are falling into arrears, or using credit to pay for essentials, making the problem worse.

And the situation isn't going to get easier, even as temporary support measures are announced, with further challenges ahead.

Cost of Living:

  • Has hit a 30 year-high

  • Energy, fuel, and food prices continue to rise

  • Price increase by 5.5% in the 12 months to January 2022

  • Inflation rising faster than wages

  • Bank of England inflation forecast rise of more than 7% this year

    Protests against the cost of living increases Credit: ITV News

National Insurance is also going up from 06/04/22:

  • It's to pay for social care and help the NHS recover from the pandemic

  • Employees, employers and the self-employed will pay 1.25 pence more in the pound for their contributions

  • From July, the amount people will have to earn before they pay National Insurance will be raised by £3,000 to £12.570

  • The extra tax was supposed to raise 12 billion pounds a year - for what's been called the Health and Social Care Levy

  • But increasing the point at which people start paying it, means it's likely to raise half of this - around 6 billion pounds

More increases on the way:

  • Energy bills increasing by an average of nearly £700 a year

  • Council tax payments to rise

  • National Insurance contributions increasing for those in work

Many people are finding that wages and benefit payment increases aren't keeping track with these price rises.