Rise in energy bills will devastate families in poverty

published on 26 Aug 2022

Responding to today’s announcement by Ofgem that the energy price cap will rise in October to £3549, Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant said:

“We really fear for families this winter. People are coming to us for essentials such as food, clothes, and bedding because they are already at breaking point, and soaring energy costs will devastate them unless Government action is taken now.

“Since the start of the cost of living crisis, we have seen an unprecedented demand for our help as more people are pushed into poverty, debt and homelessness. We helped feed thousands of children over the school holidays, and now we have parents queuing up for free school uniforms.

“Those in deprived communities have been hit the hardest. Such as in Gateshead, where we have just given out free warm clothes and winter shoes to over 300 children. But, we have not just been supporting those already struggling to make ends meet. We are also seeing people up and down the country who never thought they would need our help until the cost of living crisis. Our food banks and debt services have buckled under the increased demand.

“If people in poverty are to survive the coming months and beyond, benefits must keep up with inflation so they can afford to feed their families, heat their homes and keep a roof over their heads.”

The Salvation Army is calling for immediate action to help people struggling with the cost of living plus long-term, sustainable support to lift people out of poverty for good.

This should include:

  • All benefits for people on low incomes to keep up with inflation.
  • An increase in housing benefit, so it covers the full cost of rent.
  • Existing Universal Credit debt to be covered in the Government's 60 day 'Breathing Space' scheme, giving people more time to make repayments.
  • Expansion of free childcare provision, so parents are able to work or train.
  • A new cross-Government task force to tackle, with empathy and compassion, the reasons people are not earning and are trapped in poverty.