Help is there for the cost-of-living crisis

Thursday, 17 November, 2022

When the new PM settled down at his desk for his first day on the job last week he would have been greeted by an in-tray groaning with work.

There are many tasks of national significance competing for his attention, but I know which one he should reach for first – and that’s the cost-of-living crisis.

Over the last year and more the price of basic goods, food and fuel, has outstripped any increases in household income, making life tougher and more expensive for us all.

As a result more and more people have been pulled down into the struggle with poverty.

Even in ostensibly affluent areas such as East Hampshire we are seeing families facing real problems. And families that have never asked for help before are now coming to us for the first time.

Citizens Advice, which EHDC is proud to fund, has seen the numbers of people seeking their support double in the last year.

Residents are worried about paying for the basics- electricity and gas, rent and food.And increasingly these are working people, unused to making claims on the state.

As an indication of the scale of the problem, the EHDC, on behalf of the county council, has given out more than 4,500 food vouchers to local low-income households. To put that into context,a voucher has been issued to one in every 12 households across the district.

Despite the gloomy financial forecast, there is support out there for people. At EHDC we can’t tackle inflation, but we can offer help to those who are feeling its effects.

There's a huge array of help for struggling families. Including schemes and benefits that you could be entitled to that you may not be aware of.

If you are finding things difficult right now, go to the cost-of-living pages on EHDC’s website and look at the long list of opportunities that could make the difference for you.

There are ways to find help with food bills, heating, childcare, Council Tax, water, broadband and more.

Organisations working on a district, county and national level are ready to offer financial support and advice.Grants are available for energy-saving measures in your home and discountson your fuel bills.There is help for people looking for work and for those running their own business.

There are links to charities and groups that can help you budget, open a bank account or pay bills online.

There’s no one solution, but if you are finding things tough you might find there’s something or someone out there right now that can help you.

We know that downturns in the economy disproportionately affect the poorest people in our communities. They don’t have the wriggle room in their finances to cope with the rise in costs. Families who were already living hand to mouth will be finding things very difficult.

It’s a horrible situation and something Rishi Sunak must make hispriority. In the meantime, let us show you where you can turn for your support.