Members of the Lords, including a former general secretary of the TUC and the chair of an independent group acting as the voice of children in family courts, discussed the current cost of living and its impact on family budgets in the Lords on Thursday 31 October.
The continued effects of the loss of the UK's manufacturing base, combined with the global financial crisis and the opening up of the EU labour market were all identified as significant, long-term challenges to living costs and broader economic policy.
The persistent problems of demand and supply in the housing market, rising energy costs and the need for greater assistance with the high costs of childcare were discussed. Some members drew attention to measures already in place to keep living costs down, including the freezing of council tax rates, the cancellation of planned rises in fuel duty and the raising of the income tax threshold to £10,000 per year from April 2014.
There was broad support among speakers for a strengthening of the minimum wage to tackle the problem of low pay and the failure of wages to keep pace with inflation.