Taiwo Owatemi writes for the Observer with this month’s Westminster Diary.
THE COST-of-living crisis is making life very difficult for many of us here in Coventry.
Down in Westminster many simply do not understand what high inflation, rocketing energy bills, big bills at the petrol pump, and sky-high prices at the supermarket mean for our city.
Families, students and pensioners are all struggling to make ends meet.
We have also seen another big cost of living squeeze for our NHS workers in Coventry.
In April, the price of parking at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire will jump up to £600 per year for a full-time NHS employee.
This is completely unaffordable for our NHS heroes. A £600 charge is effectively a pay cut, and it comes at the worst possible time.
I have already written to the Secretary of State for Health, asking him to intervene locally and look at how we can reduce this massive financial burden.
Sadly, the reply I received was woefully inadequate – he ducked the issue entirely and did not provide a solution that works for Coventry.
This is not good enough. I will be pushing for a debate in Parliament to discuss the unaffordable parking charges that NHS staff face. The Government must sit up and listen.
Another big issue in our city is the cost of the food shop. More people than ever are using local foodbanks because they simply cannot afford the weekly supermarket shop.
Coventry Foodbank has for many years provided a fantastic service for anyone who is struggling to put food on the table and I am proud to support their tireless work.
We now have care homes providing pop-up foodbanks as well. One care home – Clarendon House in Allesley – is delivering hot meals and food to struggling older residents across Coventry. I will be volunteering with them for an afternoon this month, helping to deliver hot meals.
It is so frustrating we still live in a society where many struggle to afford food for themselves and their loved ones.
But I am eternally grateful to the brilliant foodbanks that support our city this year and every year – thank you!