Imagine being unable to afford the small things in life - a regular trip to the swimming pool with a toddler, spare cash to buy a grandchild a birthday present, or the cost of a family camping holiday.
These are the basics that people feel everyone should be able to afford.
But a new report by the New Economics Foundation finds that 23 million people can't afford even these basic items. That's a third of people in this country.
That’s millions of dads unable to take their kids for a swim. A swathe of grandmas feeling guilty they can’t afford a little gift for their grandchildren. Young people are paying the equivalent of a second mortgage on commuting costs.
It’s hard to overstate how shocking this is. But this scandal has been a long time in the making.
On top of increasing energy costs due to rocketing oil and gas prices, taxes are due to rise on most people with higher National Insurance and council tax coming in.
Next week Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will give his spring update on how the economy is doing. He is under pressure to do something about this crisis. However, at the moment it’s unclear whether Sunak will announce any support for struggling families.
The chancellor has to make some choices. Will he provide more support to help people pay their bills? Will he make the wealthiest people and companies who’ve done well financially during the pandemic pay more in tax?
The government should be imposing a windfall tax on energy giants making a killing. Rishi Sunak should also close the loopholes that mean the wealthiest can pay very low rates of tax.