Amid the hysteria demonstrated on social media and in the main stream media, it’s worth remembering how much the UK Government is doing to help the poorest folk with the rise in the cost of living. First, a Council Tax rebate of £150 was made to those households living in council tax bands A – D. Later, in response to rising energy prices, the then Chanclellor Rishi Sunak announced a £200 loan to help with energy bills, but this was quickly increased to a £400 discount which we now know will see energy bills lowered by £66 a month over six months from November 2022. This discount will be paid directly to the energy companies, but, will not need to be paid back. Also, the UK Government is making two payments totalling £650 to those on Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. The first installment of £324 has been paid to Universal Credit claimants, but those on WTC and CTC have to wait util the end of September for their first payment which will be made through HMRC.
So, a total of £1,200 in assistance will be made over a twelve month period. Now, some say this isn’t enough which is fair comment, but to say the Government is doing nothing is just plain wrong. £1,200 isn’t nothing, in fact it will make the difference between eating or not eating, and heating or no heating. The Government cannot pay the full living costs of every poor person, but it can try to offer enough assistance to make a difference. However, it is now getting obvious that more needs to be done. UK Government needs to cut taxes for those in work. VAT needs to be cut. Benefits, that have been cut by 75% over the last ten years need to be increased, because, like it or not, some people are simply not fit to work and cutting pensions for women at sixty hasn’t helped the situation. Many millions of people have been forced into poverty by the efforts of successive Conservative Governments to save money. Yet no money has actually been saved, just look at our £2.4 trillion National Debt, but the damage to the economy has been devastating. We need some real leadership now, but I’m not holding my breath. Meanwhile I’ll get on with looking after myself and hopefully more Government assistance will be forthcoming.