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Tory leadership contenders urged to support most vulnerable to avert cost-of-living ‘catastrophe’

14 Aug 2022 3 minute read
Liz Truss(L) Photo Stefan Rousseau- Rishi Sunak Photo Dominic Lipinski PA Images

The two remaining Tory leadership contenders are facing a call to more than double the level of UK Government support to low-income families to avert a cost-of-living crisis “catastrophe” over the winter.

Seventy charities and community organisations have signed an open letter to Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak warning families on benefits face a £1,600 shortfall over the coming months, despite receiving £1,200 in the last Government support package.

In the letter, co-ordinated by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), they warn soaring energy bills mean many low-income households are already facing in a choice between skipping meals or not heating their homes properly, and that the situation is only set to get worse.

“Many of our organisations work directly with these families and are becoming overwhelmed, too often unable to provide the support so desperately needed,” the letter said.

“This situation cannot be allowed to continue.

“As the prospective leaders of this country, we urge you to act now to demonstrate the compassion and leadership needed to tackle this issue head on.

“We ask you both to pledge that, under your premiership, everyone who needs it will be properly supported when they hit hard times.

“This means ensuring that, at a minimum, the social security system always provides people with enough to be able to afford the essentials.”


JRF chief executive Paul Kissack, chief executive at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “People are already selling their possessions, taking on risky debt and building up arrears they may never be able to pay back.

“And things are about to get far worse.

“Planning for a substantial support package needs to start immediately.

“Without it, vulnerable people will face a catastrophe on a vast scale when winter sets in.

“The consequences of sitting idly by are unthinkable.”

Impossible choices

Dan Paskins of Save The Children, which is also backing the letter, said: “When energy bills rocket in the autumn, families who already have it tough are going to find things even harder.

“Parents will face impossible choices over whether to prioritise feeding their children or heating their homes.

“At the very least, the Government should double the emergency support package announced in May to ensure families are shielded from a catastrophic winter.”

Other signatories to the letter include the Trussell Trust, the Children’s Society, Age UK, Shelter, Oxfam GB and the TUC.

Mr Sunak, who as chancellor pushed through the last £15 billion support package in May, has already said that, if he becomes prime minister on September 5, he will provide additional support targeted at the most vulnerable, although he has yet to put a firm figure on it.

Ms Truss, who has previously said she is opposed to to further “handouts”, has insisted that she has not ruled out additional direct payments, although her priority is tax cuts which, she argues, are needed to kickstart economic growth.

Meanwhile the pressure on the candidates to do more is expected to intensify when Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer sets out his plans for tackling the cost-of-living crisis on Monday.

They are expected to include a freeze on the energy price cap at the current rate of £1,971 for the average household amid warnings it is likely to rise to £3,500 in October going up to more that £4,000 in the new year as the pressure on global oil and gas prices continues.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

Tweedle dumb and Tweedle dumber, but in a month’s time the blonde is likely to have the nuclear launch codes…Wallace and Gromit (pm) went to war riding on a donkey called the Tory Party who for want of a better idea might see war as a way out of trouble…easier than all the domestic boring stuff…like food, warmth and a future…come on Starman get us an election and swap places with Mick Lynch, at least he can lead people…cometh the hour and all that…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Well thank the lord someone from the fourth estate probably reads Private Eye but the word on fleet street neatly puts Putin, Fat Shanks Johnson, I’m so clean Sunak, the Cayman Islands, The Kremlin, The BBC’s chair(person), Oligarch, Ice Hockey, Offshore Investment, inner circle, Goldman Sacks, richest man, Tory Donor and Rishi’s Boss in the same sentence…

see ‘offshore firm links BBC chair’ I will just say there is no wrong doing…

Last edited 1 year ago by Mab Meirion
Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 year ago

Hmmm – they just don’t care. Unless they are dragged kicking and screaming – they will do nothing. It’s not in their DNA to automatically help.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Sunak’s DNA says quite the opposite, if you’re poor then that is your karma; end of…
He sounds like he would revive partition on occasion…really not a friend of the poor by any means…and as for Liz one day she will be rich enough to burn £50 notes, that’s if she is allowed to play with matches…it was so sad to hear that she and her mates have an enclave in Greenwich…

1 year ago

If you have shares in a energy company, have close links to Moscow, or the old KGB, and are considered “comfortable” then worry not, you will be looked after, otherwise forget it. Poor, need help with fuel bill’s, cant feed the kids during summer holidays, that’s you’r fault for being poor in the first place, you are now living in a neo liberal driven economic system of right wing ideology, that you voted for, while deciding to stay in the English dominated union, of, I’m all right jack. Until we decide to quit it, this is the future for our… Read more »

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