Families will be hit by a 54% surge in energy bills from today. With rises in National Insurance payments, council tax and inflation many could suffer spiralling debt and physical and mental health issues
Image: Ben Cawthra/LNP)
Already battered by the cost of living crisis, millions of families face an even bleaker future from today thanks to a string of price hikes.
There are fears 400,000 children who were pulled out of poverty thanks to the £20 Universal Credit uplift could be plunged straight back in unless the Chancellor acts now.
Families will be hit by a 54% surge in energy bills from today and with rises in National Insurance payments, council tax and inflation many could suffer spiralling debt and physical and mental health issues.
Citizens Advice warned around five million people will be unable to pay their gas or electricity bills from this month. And The Resolution Foundation has calculated the cost of living crisis will push 1.3 million households into absolute poverty.
Mr Sunak’s mini-Budget last week was branded “woefully inadequate” as it did little to ease the soaring financial burden on families.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “People shouldn’t be struggling to cover the basics. But millions of families have been pushed to breaking point by spiralling bills and soaring inflation.
“We need an emergency Budget to bring down energy bills and to boost pay, Universal Credit and pensions.”
Fuel poverty charity National Energy Action chief executive Adam Scorer added: “This is the biggest energy price shock in living memory. Millions of people will be priced out of adequate levels of heating and power.
“Many people on the lowest incomes will be crushed. Quality of life for millions of people will plummet.
“Debt will spiral. Physical and mental health will suffer.”
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Katie Schmuecker said: “For people on the lowest incomes, the next few months could be truly catastrophic.”
Figures show 3.9m children were living in deprivation in 2021 and the figure could soar after No10 cut Universal Credit by £20.
The Child Poverty Action Group’s Alison Garnham said: “Many of the children lifted out of poverty by the £20 increase to UC have already been forced back over the brink by the Government’s actions.
“And as millions struggle with spiralling costs, the picture will worsen.”
AFP via Getty Images)
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves again called on Millionaire Mr Sunak to slap a windfall tax on mega-rich energy firms to help cut bills for households.
Research has shown many households were already at “breaking point”, even before this new wave of price rises kick in
Energy bills will rise at least 10 times faster than wages this year., surging on average by £693 a year to £1,971.
Prepayment meter customers will have an increase of £708 a year to £2,017. Water bills, TV subscriptions, phone bills and even first class stamp prices are also going up this month.
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Car parking charges for NHS workers will come back today, after being scrapped as staff battled the pandemic.
And while benefits are due to rise by just 3.1%, that is half the current inflation rate of 6.2% – itself tipped to soar to 8%.
New polling by Ipsos foundMr Sunak’s mini-Budget has done little to reduce concerns about the rising cost of living.
No10 said: “We are taking action worth over £22billion next financial year to help people with the cost of their energy bills and to ensure people keep more of their money.”
Our Cost of Living team of experts are here to help YOU through a very difficult year.
They’ll be bringing you the latest money news stories and also providing specialist advice.
Whether it’s rocketing energy bills, the cost of the weekly shop or increased taxes, our team will be with you all the way.
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Here are five ways Chancellor Rishi Sunak could help with the cost of living:
1 Halt the rise in National Insurance contributions coming into force on April 6 and replace it with a fairer tax that hits the very wealthy, not the young and low-paid.
2 Impose a windfall tax on the oil and gas giants to fund a rebate on people’s energy bills.
3 Immediately raise the national minimum wage to £10 a hour to help people with rising food and fuel bills.
4 Increase pensions in line with inflation to help the two million pensioners living in poverty.
5 Reverse the £20 cut to Universal Credit to prevent more families, including hundreds of thousands of children, from falling into poverty.