The ONS report shows that many of us have sought to mitigate the effect of inflation by reducing our non-essential spending in areas such as hospitality and recreation to make up for rising costs of food and energy.
A previous ONS report sets out how consumers mitigate the effect of inflation by a process of "substitution" in three ways:
- upper-level substitution (between items): consumers switch between goods and services, towards those that are becoming relatively cheaper. This can be to a similar product (between apples and pears), or something very different (Apples to tablet computers)
- lower-level substitution (within items): consumers switch between varieties of the same item, for example, between Royal Gala and Golden Delicious apples, from chicken breast to chicken thighs, from branded butter to supermarket branded butter
- substitution between outlets: consumers switch between shops or type of shop – for example, corner shop to supermarket, one supermarket to another cheaper supermarket, or high street to internet
Many, if not most of us, have already started to make these changes, due in large part to successive years of sub-inflationary pay rises where universities have saved funding on staff pay – because they can.
Ultimately, for a variety of reasons that we also need to tackle in the longer term, university staff let them. As a previous EIS email set out, the Scottish University sector has record reserves – over £5 Billion.
It is time, colleagues, to say that enough is enough, and to fight not only for the pay of the lecturer profession but to fight to maintain our standard of living. Workers simply cannot carry on changing and cutting our spending indefinitely.
The EIS and the other HE trade unions are balloting members to make a stand over pay. Other workers are doing the same – in councils, transport and the NHS, to name a few. Vote Yes in this EIS consultative ballot to begin the fightback in protecting your and your profession’s pay.
To do nothing is to allow your pay to decline in value even further….