Big Issue North magazine is set to maintain its increased festive price, in order to help vendors face the cost-of-living crisis and to meet rising production costs. The weekly magazine will now be on sale for £4, available from your local vendors.
Over the Christmas period, vendors bought Big Issue North from our regional offices for £2 per magazine, and sold it to readers for £4, keeping the money they make. This means that vendors get £2 in their pocket for every magazine they sell – an extra 50p compared to the previous prices. This price will now stay in place permanently.
With the cost of living rising for everyone, Big Issue North vendors are among those who are facing increasingly vulnerable situations. People like them, on low and variable incomes, are the least able to withstand increases in bills and food costs. The average Big Issue North vendor earns around £60 per week, and many have no other source of income. The impact of even one week of poor sales can be devastating, especially for those with families to support or rent to pay.
“I do what I can. But it’s hard. I am here every day on my pitch, out in all weathers, trying to make enough money,” explains Justin, a vendor based in St Ann’s Square, Manchester.
Justin has sold the magazine for the past four years. He recently lost the flat he was renting as he couldn’t keep up with the expense: “I got some support with the rent, but I couldn’t afford things like bills, so I had to give it up. It was just too much. I’m back in B&Bs and staying at friends’ houses. Floating all over the place – it depends on the day really.”
Justin’s story is one we are hearing more and more. By increasing their income with every sale, we can give vendors like Justin a greater chance of coping financially.
In addition, a range of factors have increased the cost of print and production of the magazine.
“Our vendors are people who are often among the most marginalised people in the UK, with limited access to mainstream employment opportunities. Their options to earn an income are limited due to their personal circumstances” says Roli Barker, Director of Big Issue North.
“In addition, a range of factors have increased the cost of print and production of the magazine. Rising the sale price of our magazine was a difficult decision, especially in the current fiscal climate crisis, but we are urging people to continue to buy a magazine and support our vendors where possible. Every sale really does make a difference to them, now more than ever.”
Big Issue North was founded as a street paper in 1992 to allow people experiencing homelessness to earn an income and support themselves out of poverty. We became a charity in 1996, expanding the range of support we offered to include housing, money, training concerns, health, and work – things that everyone faces, but that are made much worse through poverty, inequality, and insecurity.
Today, we work with around three hundred vendors each week, helping them to earn an income by providing the magazine that they sell to the public. Anyone can sell Big Issue North, and we are actively recruiting new vendors across the North. We are here for anyone who needs support – everyone has the right to work their way out of poverty and deserves to be helped along the way.