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Inflation brings pessimism, penny pinching: new poll

A new public opinion poll suggests British Columbians are becoming even more pessimistic about inflation despite July numbers showing the crisis easing a bit.

The Angus Reid Survey online survey of 2,279 Canadians from Aug. 8 to 10 paints a picture of Canadians having trouble keeping up with the increased cost of living, and spending and saving less.

Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Forum, said unsurprisingly, those lower on the income scale reported having a tougher time making ends meet. Kurl also noted even those considered middle- or high-income earners cut back on savings, although they did have more wiggle room.

When it comes to British Columbians, 58 per cent of those polled say they're cutting back on discretionary spending, 45 per cent say they're driving less, and 43 per cent say they're delaying a major purchase. A survey like this would typically have a margin of error of +/- two, 19 times out of 20, according to Angus Reid.

"Relative to people in other parts of the country, British Columbians are more likely to say they're carrying too much debt," Kurl explained in an interview, adding that was related to the cost of owning or renting homes.

The poll also found increased unease over employment.

"You see British Columbians a little bit higher than the national average worried about someone in their household losing a job due to the economy," Kurl added.

Canada's year-over-year inflation in July 2022 was 7.6 per cent. In June, that rate was 8.1 per cent. Most of the decrease was driven by lower gas prices. B.C. infamously has the highest gas prices in the country.

And while governments may point to global forces like Russia's invasion of Ukraine for impacting wheat and oil prices, or the COVID-19 pandemic for slowing supply chains, Kurl said people are looking to those governments to take action.

"Every government, regardless of their political stripe, is in a situation where inflation is a support killer for them," she noted. "Ultimately people are looking for relief."

Politicians in Victoria have said they are looking at inflation measures to help British Columbians. Previously the NDP government set rent caps to the 12-month average of inflation in July of each year, plus two per cent. This year, that number is 7.6 per cent. Murray Rankin, the housing minister has said this year the rate would be lower, but so far, no details have been released. Top Stories

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