Social Justice

Eat your pets, and other innovative ways to get through the cost of living crisis

MPs have been giving less than helpful advice for people struggling with the cost of living crisis. James McMahon chips in with some more.

A doe-eyed puppy lies on a bed looking up at the camera

The cost of living crisis is hitting families hard, so why not try some creative gastronomy?

Thank goodness for Rachel Maclean. The Home Office minister — who in 2021 claimed £213,000 in expenses, higher than the average of £203,000 claimed by her peers — was on hand this week to propose that the best way to combat the rising cost of living faced by an estimated 23.4 million people was to “work more hours or get a better paid job”. It’s this outside the box thinking that we need much more of, not less. 

With inflation soaring to 9 per cent — a 40-year high — this sage advice couldn’t have come at a better time. The New Economics Foundation estimates that this year UK food banks will be required to distribute even more than the 2.5 million emergency food parcels they did in 2021. In 2019/​20, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that 18.2 million people (27.7 per cent) were living under a socially acceptable standard of living. New analysis now estimates that by April this will have increased to 23.4 million (34.2 per cent of the population). The average shortfall for those below this threshold will be £8,600 per year.

With that in mind, and in tribute to Rachel’s enterprising thinking, here are some other innovative and original ways that Brits can survive the economic catastrophe that is not just incoming but, for many, is already here (warning, it’s not good news for Grandma). 

Eat your pets

Strapped for cash? Can’t afford food? Worry not! If you’re economical, Tiddles the cat could feed a family for a week. 

Got no pets? Bugs

Earthworms contain 60-70 per cent protein, 6-11 per cent fat, 5-21 per cent carbohydrates, and 2-3 per cent minerals and a wide range of vitamins, including niacin. The creepy crawlies are also higher in essential amino acids than either meat or fish meal. Nom nom nom.

Sleep is for the weak

Beginning in December 1963, 17-year-old American Randy Gardner stayed awake for 11 days and 25 minutes, totalling a quite remarkable 64.4 hours. This, it’s said, broke the previous record of 260 hours by one Tom Rounds. Do you know how many extra shifts that time will allow you? Let us tell you, it’s a lot. 

Cancel the gym, take up hard labour

Contact your local MP and offer to tend their moat and/or mow their acres. They will likely take you up on the offer. This expenditure of hard labour negates the need for Fitness First.

Hyperlocal holidays

Yes, everyone needs a change of scene. But that doesn’t necessarily mean expensive visits to France or Spain! Have you ever visited the bins around the back of Aldi?

Find free entertainment

Turn off your TV. Sell your TV if you can find a buyer. Arrive at the forecourt of your local supermarket. Watch your fellow humans fight to the death for the final bag of brown rice. Ozark is good, but it’s not that good. 

Deploy your children

In February 1875 a 12-year-old boy, George Brewster, was sent up the chimney of Cambridge’s Fulbourn Hospital by his master. He got stuck, the entire wall had to be pulled down to get him out and he died shortly afterwards. In September that same year the practice of sending children up chimneys was finally abolished. But it’s been ages now and everyone has to earn their keep.

Get up, Grandma

What’s that? You’re hard of hearing? Well, you don’t need working eardrums to lay bricks and mortar. Up and at ‘em.

Sell an organ

It’s common knowledge that you don’t need both kidneys to live, but did you know you can make do without a stomach too? When the stomach is removed, surgeons attach the oesophagus directly to the small intestines. If there’s no complications, people can eat a normal diet alongside vitamin supplements. How much is a stomach worth on eBay? Better out than in.

Burn stuff

Can’t afford firewood? Who are you, Hansel and Gretel? If you’re cold, make a bonfire. ‘But I don’t have anything to burn…’ Wait, you don’t have photo albums? Your child’s toys? Family heirlooms? You’d be surprised by how flammable broken dreams can be.

All joking aside, The Big Issue is committed to helping readers make it through the cost of living crisis. Here’s where to turn for some real solutions:

Support the Big Issue

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