Written by Amy Beecham
As the cost of living crisis continues to worsen, just when will the government take real and definitive action?
The cost of living crisis is raging on throughout the UK, with almost every group in society feeling the impact.
Private renters across the country are being pushed into poverty by benefits caps, survivors of domestic abuse are being forced to choose between crippling debt and remaining in dangerous living conditions andone in 10 students are having to turn to food banks.
News of more expected price hikes to energy bills in October means many people are already looking ahead to winter and bracing themselves.
According to money saving expert Martin Lewis the October cap prediction is “UP 64% (so £3,244/yr on typical bills).” And the January cap prediction is “UP 4% (so £3,363/yr).”
“Worth noting in May when the then chancellor announced his help package, a typical bill in October was predicted to rise from £1,971/yr to £2,800. Now October is looking like £3,244/yr.
“The increase in prediction alone eats up the £400 help package going to every home,” he continued.
In light of the news, Lewis shared his thoughts on the possibility of the public relying on “warm banks” throughout the winter, the equivalent of food banks where “people who can’t afford heating are invited to spend their days at no cost with heating”.
Many were troubled by the prospect. “It’s 2022 and this is the state of the UK, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, where plans are beginning to form to provide warm places for people to congregate because most people are going to struggle to pay their home heating bills,” one user wrote on Twitter.
“How have we ended up in a situation where we are seriously talking about “warm banks” in a supposedly developed society???” added another.
Perhaps more worryingly, others responded that in their local area, similar plans were already being put in place in preparation.
“Completely true. The sad reality is we have been actively organising a citywide network of warm places (we call them “Welcoming Places”) for #Bristol,” shared Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees. “We plan to have them set up by Sept, ready to open in Oct.”
Local councils admitted they too were drawing up similar plans.
However, the issue is that many local services have been decimated under austerity. Public spending cuts have closed almost 800 libraries in the past decade – a fifth of the UK’s total. With 48% of community centres currently facing closure, the ‘solution’ is actually its very own problem to tackle.
As the price of everything continues to rise, and at such a sharp rate, it’s clear that small government grants as part of a £10 billion package aren’t doing enough. As Lewis himself says, with the government now waiting until September to appoint a new prime minister, it’s not enough time to lay out truly effective support.
Just how many more panicked warnings and sticking-plaster solutions will it be before definitive action is finally taken?
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