Labour’s ‘cost of gym crisis’ shows exactly where they’re going wrong

The decision by George Osborne to keep this year's fare rises in line with inflation means that Labour have struggled to muster quite the same level of outrage they normally manage each January.

It also means they've had to search a little bit further for an example of the government's "cost of living crisis".

So what have they gone for? What cruel example of spiralling costs hurting the common man and woman have they selected?

Utility prices perhaps? Rent maybe? Childcare? No, they've gone for the cost of gym memberships.

"Millions of people across the country will want to kick-start 2014 by getting fitter and more active," Labour's Luciana Berger says, unarguably.

"There is a real risk that many people will be put off from keeping to their New Year’s resolutions by soaring gym charges and David Cameron’s failure to tackle the cost-of-living crisis."

This is a crisis. A cost of gym membersip crisis.

"A yearly pass now costs £368 on average, an increase of £15 since 2010".

An extra £15! Perhaps they could spend a little less on energy drinks and lycra, or even save the £15 and go for a run outside instead?

Perhaps I'm being a bit flippant. Keeping fit is important and lots of people do use local authority gyms. But of all the big problems facing people across the UK, the cost of getting toned abs and a six pack isn't really very high on the list.

This also demonstrates the difficulty Labour face with their cost of living campaign.

Most people understand that living costs are rising above inflation. They also understand that government policies have in some cases worsened this situation.

But simply pointing at a service and saying "ooh isn't that expensive" isn't a vote-winner in itself, especially if you're not even proposing to do anything to cut the cost of it.

The success of Ed Miliband's pledge to tackle energy costs, hid the fact that energy prices are actually a relatively small part of the "cost of living crisis" facing most people.

Rising housing costs are a much larger problem. But with so many older voters actually benefiting from rising house prices, none of the three main political parties are proposing to do anything to seriously tackle the problem.

So instead we get tutting at gym membership bills and pledges to shave a few quid off electricity bills, with the vain hope that somehow this will all add up to an election campaign.

I'm far from convinced. The public don't like prices going up, but there's no reason this will automatically translate into more people voting for Labour.

If Ed Miliband wants to benefit from his cost of living campaign, he needs to do more than just moan about rising prices. He needs to demonstrate he would actually do something about them.