A number of readers will have received the latest £150 Cost of Living payment in recent days, targeted at those who through a disability are most in need of support during these difficult times. It’s the latest instalment in a wider support package worth up to £1,350 for the most vulnerable, to help get us all through the cost-of-living crisis, and just one part of the many initiatives that are helping people in various different ways.
With the latest inflation figures being disappointing, leading to the Bank of England’s interest rate hike that will have caused serious concern to anyone with a mortgage, it’s clear we’re not out of the economic woods yet, and will be facing rising prices for longer than had been hoped or expected.
So, measures such as the big near 50% increase to the maximum amount of Universal Credit childcare payments which came in this week will make a real and timely difference for working families. The deal struck between the government and the mortgage lenders will also have provided welcome reassurance, with an agreement that seeking help on their repayments won’t affect credit scores and useful options for those coming to the end of a fixed rate deal.
Energy bills also remain a huge worry for many, so it’s welcome that the energy price guarantee remains in place. So far, it’s saved the typical household £1,500. Looking ahead, pensioners will also benefit from an extra Winter Fuel Payment this coming winter, and there will be help for those on certain working age, income-related benefits too. It’s right that this in work on lower incomes receive help too, on top of the inflation-busting 9.7% increase to the National Living Wage.
All of this helps, but I appreciate it won’t reach everyone and won’t solve everything for those who it does. We as a country must get inflation back down to manageable levels, below wage growth, to stop rising prices making things harder for us all. There have been tough messages on this from the Chancellor, but this is the biggest problem facing our – and most other – countries right now. Until then, it’s right targeted support like this week’s £150 goes to those amongst us who need help the most.