Anger over Big Ben £80m revamp as families struggle to heat homes

2 April 2022, 19:34

People have hit out at the Government for spending millions on restoring Big Ben as the UK suffers a cost of living crisis
People have hit out at the Government for spending millions on restoring Big Ben as the UK suffers a cost of living crisis. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

There is growing anger over Big Ben's £80 million restoration as thousands of Brits face a crippling combination of soaring bills, rising national insurance and record levels of inflation.

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The tower's scaffolding was removed this week, revealing a new golden exterior and clock hands restored to their original shade of blue.

But as the UK faces a worsening cost of living crisis that experts have warned could lead to people starving, freezing or considering suicide, many have questioned whether the money could have been better spent elsewhere.

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One Twitter user wrote: "This country is absolutely crying on its knees with benefit cuts and rises in the cost of gas, electricity, petrol, food and national insurance but it's ok cause Big Ben's had an £80m spruce up."

Another compared the cost to what was offered by the Government to help children on free school meals, writing: "Big Ben got more government aid than British children did with the cost of their school meals."

Others have questioned the decision to allocate the funding to the restoration at a time when the NHS is chronically underfunded - and national insurance is being hiked as a result.

"They gave Big Ben a buss down when there’s starving families in this country and the NHS is underfunded, this can’t be a real country," they wrote on Twitter.

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Read more: Energy poverty deaths will go 'through the roof' this winter, says National Energy Action

The UK is facing a worsening cost of living crisis.

Soaring inflation, surging petrol prices and a national insurance hike are all reducing the amount of money in Brits' pockets.

And on Friday an increase in the energy price cap came into force, meaning already hard-pressed households face paying at least £700 more a year on energy.

Experts have issued stark warnings that the cost of living squeeze may leave people starving, freezing and even considering suicide.

A think-tank specialising in living standards warned that the price hike would push 2.5 million families in England alone into so-called "fuel stress" as people face paying more for energy than their mortgage.

But the price hike is not limited to energy.

Broadband, mobile, water bills, council tax and national insurance contributions are also set to rise this month, as inflation pushes up the cost of food, clothing, footwear and other products and services.

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