‘Cost of living support may be receding but the tide of people not being able to afford life’s essentials is not. It is time we moved from stop-gaps to sustainable solutions.’
February 22, 2024, marked the last of the cost of living payments being sent out. The cash top-ups had been awarded to people receiving means-tested benefits, disability benefits, and pension credits, at regular intervals over the course of the cost of living crisis. They have been a lifeline for around eight million low-income families.
But with rising living costs driving disadvantaged households further into poverty, with prices still rising despite inflation easing, and food and energy remaining at extortionate levels, charities and experts have warned that the payments are not enough. They have expressed fears about what may happen if the government does not announce additional payments.
The final cost of living payment has renewed calls for the introduction of a system that is there whenever anyone falls on hard times, rather than being just a ‘stop gap’ solution.
Ahead of the Spring Budget on March 6, anti-poverty charities and campaigners are calling on the Chancellor for bolder action to tackle poverty during the cost of living crisis.