In my View by Steve Duncan
A new word has been introduced to the Collins Dictionary as their word of 2022 and it sums up nicely the year we are having – the word is ‘permacrisis’, which is defined as ‘an extended period of instability and insecurity’.
As the nights are drawing in and as we head for the festivities of Christmas, I thought I would look back at one of the more unsettling periods in our recent history.
However, you want to sum up this year it hasn’t been a barrel of laughs and I’m afraid my column reflects this, and I personally can’t wait to see the back of 2022!
It all started reasonably positive! At the start of the year, we had the lifting of Covid restrictions, and the continued vaccine rollout and it felt like we were leaving that horrendous period behind us.
However, there were clear signs emerging that the economy was experiencing an inflation surge resulting from the financial support provided to businesses through the furlough scheme designed to protect jobs and prevent businesses from going under.
Then our television screens became preoccupied with Ukraine and the
mobilisation of Russians troops and equipment on its borders. Our worst fears were realised when a full-scale invasion commenced on 24th February. The war is still raging on some 9 months later and has become the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War 11. The conflict has seen the displacement of nearly 16 million Ukrainians, many of whom we are housing in the UK as part of the Homes for Ukraine Scheme.
With the conflict in Ukraine ongoing news turned to two other significant
events. In August 2022 we were notified of the death of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union, and of course our much loved and respected Queen Elizabeth 11 died in September.
The pomp and ceremony of the Queen’s funeral was a magnificent showcase of what we do well in the UK, but it masked what was a particularly sombre few months.
As Summer turned to Autumn the knock-on effect of the conflict in Ukraine on fuel, food and energy costs was starting to bite and it was becoming apparent that we would all have much higher energy costs. Inflation rose above 10 per cent and concern was growing for the most vulnerable families in our communities.
Not the best time for Boris Johnson’s resignation followed by a Conservative leadership election! As we know now the election saw a victory for Liz Truss who very quickly became the shortest serving Prime Minister in the UK, having served a poultry 50 days in office. During her short tenure at 10 Downing Street Liz Truss found time to introduce a mini budget with the biggest tax cuts since the 1970s which sent markets spiralling and the value of the Pound plummeting!
What followed can only be described as farcical but culminated in the sacking Kwasi Kwarteng and the appointing of a new Chancellor of the Exchequer in the shape of Jeremy Hunt. Following a very speedy leadership election Rishi Sunak became our third Prime Minister in a matter of weeks.
What the rest of the world made of events in London goodness knows!
Hopefully we can now enjoy a more stable Government as we see out 2022 but in the meantime there’s real concern for the many families who are struggling to make ends meet with rising costs and mortgage rates.
So, on a more positive note I can announce that the Community Foundation for Calderdale will be launching a Cost-of-Living Crisis Appeal imminently and we are kickstarting it with £40,000.
Donations of up to £100 can be made via https://localgiving.org/costoflivingcrisis or if you wish to make a larger donation please contact Steve Duncan on 01422 438737, post a cheque made out to CFFC (‘Cost of Living’ written on the reverse) and posted to CFFC 1855 Building Discovery Road HX1 2NG or make a donation directly to the Foundation’s account at Yorkshire Bank Sort Code: 05-04-49 Account No: 70400958.
If you can afford to, please donate to our Cost-of-Living Crisis Appeal today to help us provide funding to vital local charities supporting Calderdale residents in poverty.
Roll on 2023 when we can hopefully look forward to some much more positive headlines and we can let go of all the negativity that has dogged us this year!