People living on the poverty line will be forced to choose between heating up and eating out this winter, because of the triple whammy in cost of living, the government is warning.
Experts say rising energy bills coupled with both the end of furloughs and universal credit top-up risks are posing a crisis of living standards this autumn.
The annual gas and electricity bill is expected to rise to £280 following the increase in wholesale energy prices. The hike forced suppliers to withdraw their lowest fixed rate offers on Thursday.
In addition, the government price cap on annual energy costs for households is due to increase next month, bringing the average dual-fuel deal to £1,277 a year. But comparison site The Energy Shop expects it to go up to £1,557.
At the same time, the furlough scheme, which was set up to prevent employers from laying off workers, expires at the end of this month.
And a £20-a-week universal loan raise to help those benefiting from the pandemic lockdown expires in early October.
National Insurance is also going up 1.25 percentage points in April.
Figures showed 1.6 million people were on leave at the end of July, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been warned that ending universal debt uplift would result in the biggest cut in overnight benefits, affecting millions of households.
However, ministers argue they have spent £400bn to protect jobs and livelihoods and support businesses and public services during the pandemic.
The cost of gas is rising rapidly due to higher demand due to the economic recovery after the pandemic. And a fire in Kent, which this week knocked down a major cable bringing electricity from France, is expected to affect supplies until March next year.
Shadow Child Poverty Secretary, Wes Streeting, said: “Next year my gas and electricity bill is rising by an estimated £161.67. I will manage – but what about working families who, under the Tories, have £20-per-pound in universal debt. -Will be surrounded by deductibles of the week and a 10 percent increase in National Insurance?”
Ian Porter of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: “Low-income families are concerned about how they should make a living. The prime minister says he wants to unite and lift the country, but in and out of work is almost He cannot achieve this by cutting the income of 5.5 million families.
“It is not too late for him to heed all warnings and drop this cut, or he will risk creating a standard of living crisis this autumn.”
Morgan Wilde, head of policy for Citizens Advice, said: “The millions of people who are still grappling with the effects of the pandemic now face new challenges. Sovereign debt cuts, vacation ends and rising energy prices would limit family finances.
“Sustaining the £20-a-week increase for Universal Loans is the single best way to support families through an incredibly difficult winter.”
Gary Lemon, policy director at the Trussell Trust, said: “We know that many people in need of emergency food are also living in fuel crisis, and are already trapped in impossible situations, where their only option is either to feed their children. To feed or to heat them. Home.”
Former Labor leader Ed Miliband said the energy increase showed the need to use more environmentally friendly and safer energy sources.
“We need the government to reassure homes and businesses that they are working with all relevant bodies to ensure safe, affordable energy supplies.
“They also need to recognize what this reflects about the problems of government policy,” he said. “The best answer to these issues is to grow and diversify our domestic energy sector, strengthen our security of supply and protect industry, which includes all possible zero-carbon sources of electricity.
“This growing crisis also reinforces the urgent need to manage demand by upgrading and insulating homes across this country.
“Instead, the Conservatives sold the Green Investment Bank, blocked onshore wind power, cut subsidies for solar, and ended its flagship Green Homes grant.”
A government spokesman said: “The furlough scheme and the lifting of the universal loan were always temporary. They were designed to help people through the financial disruption of the most difficult phases of the pandemic, and as we look forward to more general Coming back to the situation, it is true that our economic support reflects this.
“Universal Credit continues to provide vital support both in and out of work, and we are now focused on our plan for jobs, getting people back to work, progressing and earning more. are doing.
“The Warm Home Discount Scheme supports more than 2 million low-income and vulnerable customers with their energy costs every year.”
The government has previously said that in households where every adult is working, children are five times less likely to be in poverty than in households where no one works, and its job plan allows people to learn new skills and learn new skills. Will help them extend their hours or find new ones. Work.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /