Mr Mayor: How to save money using your hand

Image copyright CEIS

Former boss Nick Bell says attempts to eat outside as a way of saving money can be an exercise in futility.

Mr Bell, who quit under pressure last summer, runs the business that runs restaurants chain Ryman.

“It is really difficult now for people to do something like that because everyone in the family will order takeaways,” he said.

“That’s the biggest change to my personal life. The Sunday evening meal as we used to do before school is just never going to happen now.”

My family aren’t doing it at the moment. The Sunday dinner as we used to do before school is just never going to happen now Nick Bell

Nick Bell spoke after describing other lifestyle changes he has made to save money as a consequence of rising petrol and energy costs.

“I mean, it’s really almost eating your breakfast to save money on the petrol you’ve got to get out of the house in the morning.

“You are rarely going to go to a restaurant if the kids are in a restaurant and you have to book quite a long time in advance.

“You can’t afford that, you’ve got to find somewhere else to eat.”

Image copyright ESOTACONDRU ILYLEZPA 3 Nick’s top tips to keep heating costs down are using less space and turning down the thermostat

Nick was in The Body Shop to raise awareness about climate change and the need to switch off appliances.

“I have massively reduced the amount of lighting I am using because we have a big, big reduction in bills, pretty much like many people in this country.”

And he was adamant that there is no need to cut back on activities like sport.

“Sport is so important. I find it very boring if I just sit and do nothing all day long. I think if you just take that approach it’s not going to be worth it.

“I take the kids running around with me and I think that’s not going to be worth it.

“You have to do something with them outside in the fresh air.”

However, in London he was resigned to the fact he is having to cut back.

“It’s hugely difficult to go out with the kids now because it’s impossible to come home and park away from home and get home easily and you have to make a big, big journey.”

Image copyright ESOTACONDRU ILYLEZPA 3 Glasgow is a good example of what happens when a market place is not regulated, Nick believes

Nick himself has made a significant reduction in petrol consumption, but that has not led to lower energy costs.

“I’m not that convinced there’s enough doing on energy.

“I know you have to do a bit of both, but I think it’s going to be very difficult unless we have some kind of government intervention on the energy market.

“I was talking to some minister in the government and they said, ‘you know, we are trying to, but it’s difficult’.

“I think the absolute top priority is that we do need to get prices down, we do need to try and reduce their position and if we don’t achieve that in the next couple of years the consensus is that prices will continue to rise.”

Chris Faulkner, of the People’s Economy, welcomed Mr Bell’s initiative but believes it is helping to shift energy costs from those on lower incomes to the very wealthy.

“The people we think shouldn’t have to suffer are those who are on £70,000 and over in this country,” he said.

“This is really a worrying situation where people are out of work and our system is in crisis.”

However, Mr Bell believes the solution is for the people who used to think carefully about how to reduce fuel bills to start switching.

“In the past, the big family or big business has managed fuel bills and so have local authorities but we are asking the City of London to put in some of the regulations to make that happen so that people can put forward really good proposals to the council.”

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