Every year, fuel costs seem to creep up just when you think they can’t get any higher. Train tickets see an increased percentage applied each January and even flying costs are well, sky-high at the minute! Travelling abroad is also costing more with poor exchange rates following the Brexit vote. It seems like there is no end to the inflating costs, which are becoming more difficult to manage. However, recent reports do show that wages increased at a higher rate than inflation at the end of last year.
This is great if you are in the fortunate percentage of people to have had their wages increased, but the reality of the matter is that many people in the UK receive no or very little pay increase year-on-year. In March, it was well-documented that the NHS announced that their workers were to get a 1% pay rise, which angered many people. This is all a very hot topic at the moment with political parties having just released their manifestos to sway the votes come the general election.
The fact that big transport companies like British Rail are now privatised means that there is little that anyone can do to avoid paying increased fares. Of course, if it is practical, then people can look at alternative methods of transport like cycling to work, car sharing or switching from trains to buses that offer lower fares. For many though, they are pretty much held to ransom by the transport companies because there is no real alternative available.
Driving costs are also exceptionally high right now with many young people choosing to put off learning to drive until they are more financially stable. With the large costs of learning to drive, plus buying and maintaining a car, it is enough to put many would-be drivers off. However, there are some companies like Top Tests that help to reduce the costs associated with learning to drive by providing free mock tests and cost-saving advice.
As well as the upfront costs of buying a car, you are also hit with the cost of MOT, servicing, tax, insurance and maintenance. While the introduction of insurance comparison sites has enabled drivers to find the best deals on the market, insurance policies are still significantly higher than they once were.
Recent changes to personal injury payouts have been widely reported, with many sources suggesting that the changes will result in massive increases in insurance premiums. The reports indicate that drivers over 65 could face significant additional costs and that the average policy will go up by around £75 per year. With these insurance increases and the rise in fuel costs, owning a car is becoming unachievable for many people.
Regardless of the outcome of the general election, it doesn’t look like there will be any big changes to slow down the nightmare of increasing travel costs that people in the UK are currently facing. The only solution for many is to try and get higher salaries in an already highly competitive employment market, and whether a Hard of Soft Brexit ensues.