The man behind the mic: A price to pay – and its going up

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire breakfast show host -
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire breakfast show host -
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I am from humble beginnings, reared in various South Yorkshire mining villages, where money was always tight and where dinner was often stew, made from bones that had been purchased for the non-existent dog.

Nevertheless, despite our black and white TV, freezing, carpet-less bedrooms and threadbare pantry, I was always taught right from wrong - manners and values were drummed into me from an early age and however tough things got, we always kept our heads just above water (even if we did have to sell the produce from our allotment, door to door, on occasion, to make ends meet!).

I have never been one to nip to the loo when it’s my round in a pub or renege on a bet or a promise - I am proud to say that I have always paid my way.

But it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so for all of us and as I get older I realise that perhaps not everyone has the same morals and scruples that I have – for some fairness and justice seemed to have disappeared, along with conscience.

Whilst the cost of oil has halved in recent months there are people in our city who are genuinely sat shivering during this cold spell, scared to put the heating on for fear of the bill that will land on their mat.

The big energy companies claim they can only cut the price of energy by around 5% because they purchase their stocks in advance but amazingly it doesn’t stop them increasing the price in a rush - up 40% since 2010 - Andy Murray’s girlfriend would have a few choice words to say about that.

Of course the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has vowed to cap energy prices and stand up to big business, although since Boots cancelled his advantage card he has gone rather quiet.

No matter how much they keep telling us that inflation is under control, it doesn’t feel like it. Everywhere you turn these days there is something else to pay for or another bill to settle that is higher than it was before. From a packet of regular Walkers crisps at Peterborough services (£1.09) to visiting a sick relative at Peterborough City Hospital and paying to park your car – your wallet takes hit after hit after hit.

It’s even happening to Peterborough City Council who have had an attack of unforeseen circumstances whilst widening the Fletton parkway.

Councillor Peter Hiller, the cabinet member responsible for the project, rejected accusations of mismanagement and claimed that the problems with the project could not have been foretold by anyone. However it is a timely reminder to us all that the next time we buy a house we must get a full and proper survey done.

Principles and ethics may be in short supply these days but historically there has always been honour amongst thieves. Robin Hood famously robbed from the rich to give to the poor but Peterborough United received no such handout on transfer deadline day due to a club, not too far away from here, failing to pay what was owed. Still on the plus side, Posh did receive a fair fee from the sale of Tyrone Barnett to Shrewsbury - half an ounce of Old Holborn and a packet of Rizzla.


- BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s Paul Staintonwrites for the Peterborough Telegraph