Claire Smith: Bacon for 50p for well-fed MPs

WHERE in Central London can you buy scrambled eggs on toast for £1.10, a sausage sandwich for £1.50 and a rasher of bacon for just 50p?Why, nowhere – unless you happen to be a Member of Parliament.

This absurd table of prices comes from the breakfast menu from the Members Tea Room at Westminster. It is a fascinating document which has been circulating on social networks – usually accompanied by a blizzard of exclamation marks and outpourings of rage.

I thought about this when considering figures released by uSwitch this week which show the true cost of living in Austerity Britain.

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According to this research, household bills have risen by a quarter over the last five years. Over the same period, wages have remained stagnant, with an average increase of 6 per cent and many people saying they fear their jobs will not be safe in the foreseeable future.

Among the highest rises is the cost of car insurance, up by an eye-watering 67 per cent. Gas and electricity are also soaring, with the average monthly gas bill rising by 52 per cent to £67 a month and electricity rising by 32 per cent to an average of £45 a month.

Petrol costs are also rising, with the average household spending £331 at the pumps every month – up 33 per cent since 2008. Over the same period the cost of food has risen by 17 per cent.

To anyone who has had to pay household bills over the last few years the figures will not come as a surprise. Since the economic crisis first hit in 2008 most of us have noticed the squeeze.

Politicians from all parties were quick to comment on the figures. But why did it take researchers from a price comparison site to come up with these figures and why were our MPs not already shouting from the rooftops about the rising cost of living?

For the answer you have to look no further than the Commons breakfast menu.

Is it any wonder our elected representatives are so slow to notice the pressure on household budgets when they don’t even know the real cost of a bacon roll?