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The Big Squeeze - join in the debate

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Eamonn Walsh | 16:02 UK time, Monday, 28 March 2011

With the cost of living rising fast and wages falling behind, Panorama unveils new research which shows that most of us are significantly poorer than we were two years ago.

Reporter Andrew Verity reveals which jobs are being hit hardest, just how many of us are likely to be tipped over a financial cliff if interest rates go up and gets tips from the experts on how we can fight The Big Squeeze.

We welcome your views on The Big Squeeze. Please use this forum to leave a comment.


  • Comment number 1.

    how can that first lot say any think 42000 a year try liveing on 12000 a year these people make me so mad did u see there house and she was like oh we might have to cut this years holiyday out i aint had one for years arr make me sick got to a familey who are haveing it hard ......

  • Comment number 2.

    It makes me laugh, if not I would cry ! People complaining about not having had a pay rise for a year or two. Personally I haven't had a pay rise for over 7 years now and waiting on the announcement for this years review at the moment which form inside information is going to be no again so will be at least 8 years between pay rises for me. I know others will no doubt have been trying for even longer. But complaining that your so hard done to after a year or two without a pay rise is laughable.

  • Comment number 3.

    Where are the facts in the programme coming from. Construction workers only down £99 a month on average! Either we're on the wrong side of that average or they've got that very wrong! Surely the households on 25-35K are feeling the biggest squeeze, we have the lowest income that doesn't qualify for any help.

  • Comment number 4.

    I'd love to be part of the squeezed middle and have a take home pay of £20,400 per annum. In all my years of working I've never earned that much before tax let alone after all the deductions have taken place. And what's a holiday? I think I had one of them once in my 50+ years of living. At the beginning of 2010 I had a gross income of just over £17k but by April I had to accept a 40% cut in order to keep my job. 12 months on I've got no prospects of a pay increase and am still under threat of redundancy. I now have to survive on less than £200 a week so I don't go anywhere or have any luxuries. The real killer though is that I know I'm better off than others in my family and unlike in the past I'm no longer able to help them. Roll on the revolution or failing that roll on death, there's nothing left to live for any more.

  • Comment number 5.

    this is a average figure which looks at the top earners and bottom earners and then averages, therefore the figures are someties skewed.

  • Comment number 6.

    The usual leftie shite from the BBC! No mention of the economic catastrophe the previous Labour government left us in - that's why we're being squeezed! Possibly some of the least professional and under-researched journalism I've witnessed for some time in a so-called serious documentary. The BBC really shouldn't be wasting taxpayers money on a programme of such underlying political bias - but then it was always such - I remember arch leftie Mark Easton swearing blind on a Panorama several years ago (at the height of New Labour) that just because recorded violent crimes had risen inexorably under New Labour somehow crime had actually fallen!

  • Comment number 7.

    Amazing how long the moderation takes when a post is critical of the BBC! A useful tip for other state-owned TV institutions!

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Interest rates must stay low to try support a housing bubble even though other countries have had theirs adjust? People who borrowed more than they could afford are VICTIMS?

    Strange when discussing how people were struggling they NEVER said that it was because house prices are too high. The cost of living is too high because the main living cost is housing!! If people hadn't borrowed so much or had such high rents they would have more disposable income.

    Inflation was said to be something temporary and will drop back down as if then everything will be OK? Don't the program makers understand inflation? With RPI at 5.5% and base rate at 0.5% anyone with cash in the bank is losing 5% a year. £100 buys only £95 next year, then another year of that and it buys £90.25 - BUT - if inflation drops to 3.5% that doesn't mean prices have fallen it means they have only risen 3% so your money then only buys £87.54 Inflation is tax and anyone with savings is seeing their wealth stolen PERMANENTLY to pay other people's mortgages. Of course this also makes fortunes for bankers who are paying low interest rates while not dropping mortgage rates as much so their margins are higher. Add in that higher house prices = larger mortgages = more mortgage interest = more profits and bonuses for bankers

    People struggling....? My savings income has dropped by 50%!! Those people with lower mortgage payments have got what used to be my income!

    The bit about supermarkets keeping prices down for us was laughable. They have obviously never looked at Annual Reports for such as Sainsburys, Tesco, Morrisons, etc because executive pay is spiralling - so who do the program makers think is paying for it?

  • Comment number 10.

    What a poorly produced programme. Did the producers do any vetting of the "experts" they asked to appear? Nicola Horlick claimed that UK authorities were incapable of influencing prices of imported materials, such as food and energy, and so should continue with the policy of low interest rates to assist the banks and over-indebted property buyers. Such a statement is contrary to the most basic teachings of economics, namely that the exchange rate, and hence import prices, are largely a function of the interest rates set by the central bank. Low interest rates lower the exchange rate and create inflation.

    Perhaps a bit of research on the part of the programme's producers would have shown that Ms. Horlick's investment "expertise" was largely demonstrated by her handing over the cash to Bernie Madoff "no questions asked" and then being surprized when she lost the money clients had entrusted to her investment management firm.

  • Comment number 11.

    I cannot believe we are supposed to have sympathy with the relatively very well-off middle income families who say they are feeling "the squeeze". One had an income of £42,000 per annum!! They had surplus weekly income of an amount which is more than the entire weekly income of people on certain benefits! It is actually insulting that they were held up as sympathy figures, Especially when one makes this comparison: I work with clients who have joint benefit incomes of £50 pw. Between two people. I work that out to £1,300 per annum per person. Of course that's counted as OK because the consensus is that such people should be punished and degraded for not having jobs. (Despite the fact that the economy isn't producing any jobs).
    The squeeze simply does not adequately affect those whose idea of being squeezed is that they have to go without luxury items: Oh dear, no holiday and a downgraded car!! Oh dear they are going to have to be content with being slightly less spoiled than they already are. One of the speakers on the programme defined the squeeze as being when one had gotten used to a certain standard of living and were now having to go without items that they wanted or needed. But that is not what financial hardship is. Financial hardship is when you cannot afford the things you need and either go without or use expensive credit to buy them, thereby falling further in to hardship. And since there are so many who are experiencing true financial hardship, why are we focusing on those who are most certainly not? Why focus on a middle class family whose worst financial problem is that they cannot have a holiday this year?
    The small dent that a belt-tightening makes on a well-off family causes no difficulties at all when compared to the large dent caused to those already struggling. Surely that is clear? Surely in all justice that is an easy sum to do?
    Those on low incomes and benefits are the ones who should have been the subject of such a programme if it was really meant to be about the impact of the current financial situation on income and living. Because the squeezes on them are actually going to be unsustainable and cause serious and dangerous hardship. But such reporting is often done by those who have their part to play in explaining away the regime of government cuts and policies; it would be far too depressing to tell the truth about how shockingly bad things are for the very poor. And it isn't the done thing to show sympathy with those on benefits or with low-paid public sector workers. Far better to show the fat middle classes being gently squeezed and pretend that's as bad as it going to get.

  • Comment number 12.

    I can't imagine where the figures for construction workers earnings are coming from.Three years ago I was earning around £23,000 since then i have struggled to earn £15,000 working as hard as ever if not harder.This is mainly due to the main House builders\developers slashing contractors money to fund dividends for share holders.A Kent based developer we have been working for had a pre- tax profit rise of 147% to £18.5 million the number of homes sold increased 5% to 1,900 pushing an increase of 6% to£298.6 million. They are still pushing contractors to lower tenders and shave costs.I wonder if their Directors and staff took any paycuts !On top of these pay cuts you can then add further losses due to the economy such as inflation and cost of living rises etc. Its laughable that the government want us to put money aside for pensions out of these decimated wages.Its not going to happen.

  • Comment number 13.

    Shame I was going to watch this but judging by the comments which give a good consensus I wont bother. Sounds like the program is lacking research into the facts, people have questioned how they came up with the average earnings and even some of the earnings for specific job types. We live in a world of manipulated statistics and suspect they cobbled this production together as its topical! You gotta earn your viewers nowdays!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Panderama did a very poor job explaining to Joe and Kylie Bloggs about how the machine works.The silly graphics and microphone in the face vox pops left me feeling a little bit nostalgic for the 80's.That "Poor" middle class woman and her whimpy husband could easily have been an insert from an Armstrong and Miller sketch.

  • Comment number 15.

    A really shallow and one-sided programme, even by modern BBC standards of reflexive, navel-gazing non-analysis. I'm in my early 50s and live on a small pension and savings income while running a nature reserve as a volunteer, I'm being tipped over a cliff by derisorily low interest rates! We desperately need interest rates to go back up to a sensible level, to reward savers and stave off inflation. And who earns these absurdly high incomes, apart from BBC staff? Nobody in the countryside, I'll tell you that for nowt. And what exactly is a 'pay rise'?

  • Comment number 16.

    As for choice of 'experts', spot on Richberks. The BBC totally sacrifices it's negligible remaining credibility by wheeling on tame nonentities, just because they are a 'name', have good PR or (most likely) they brown-nosed the producer at some Notting Hill dinner party.

  • Comment number 17.

    I totally agree with everything that was said by comment No 11 .
    What I would like to see is a programme were you invade an MP's house and change every product in their house to Tesco Value or Asda Smart Price .Because that's what a Benefit official told me when I told her that I couldn't afford to eat on £1.50 per meal.
    £1.50 x 3 meals x 7 days = £31.50...leaving me £15 for Water/Gas/Electric and £5 for a Bus day saver to go and sign on...
    Work everyday of my life until redundancy 12 months ago...Now 46yrs old and can't find work.
    Yes I'm living the dream NOW!!!...lol


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