Rising cost of living has a devastating effect | Letters

Rising cost of living has a devastating effect | Letters

Jack Monroe’s strong comments to the Committee on Labor and Pensions tell us more about the social security system than some Members of Parliament might have realized (The cost of living crisis could be fatal for some British children, Jack Monroe told MPs on March 9).

Eight years ago, Monroe told a parliamentarian for all parties request into starvation, which I acted as secretary on that “if my services had been paid out quickly, fully and on time, I would have been able to cover my living expenses”. The cruel ceilings, cuts and freezes that the social security budget has been exposed to since then mean, in Monroe’s words to the committee last week, that even a 6% increase in April “will not adequately cover the difference in cost of living, closing the hole for what people have not had for so long ”.

Meanwhile, while Monroe was testifying before the committee, one of Feeding Britain’s affordable food clubs reported that it was serving a new group of people who are on the brink of crisis for the first time. Unless April’s increase in benefits is more closely tied to rising living costs, the size of this new group will expand at an alarming rate.
Andrew Forsey
National Director, Feeding Britain

Last week, I was asked if I knew in any way that a single mother of two could get help paying for an oil supply. She could not afford the minimum order of 500 liters, the price of which has almost doubled since her last order. I searched diligently, but even though there is help for users of energy companies, there does not seem to be anyone for those who have to pay for their heating in advance, be it oil, bottled gas or even solid fuel. Here in rural Northumberland, we have no access to gas from the grid, and even the moderately affluent are sinking into fuel poverty.

This is causing real difficulties and requires a reconsideration on the part of the government. Taxes on wealth and profits, and stopping wealth being hoarded offshore, would help the economy function as it should and support the most vulnerable. What we lack is a government with vision, courage, a sense of urgency and basic competence combined with an understanding that the world has changed. I have stopped wanting compassion, fearing it is too much to demand.
Pam Walker
Associate Minister, Upper Wansbeck churches, Northumberland

I am surprised that there have been so few negative comments to large increases in daily standing fees as many gas and electricity companies have imposed as part of higher energy prices coming into force. Fixed taxes favor large fuel users over small ones. They discourage customers from reducing fuel consumption and penalize poor and small households.

The companies say that standing fees reflect the cost of maintaining a gas or electricity connection, while the variable (per kWh) charge reflects the cost to them of purchasing power supplies. But the cost of maintaining connections has not risen at all. It is the cost of buying wholesale gas and electricity that has risen sharply, so there is no reason to raise the standing tariffs.

Ofgem says the way companies structure their prices is up to them, provided they stay within the overall price cap. This ignores the important arguments for energy efficiency and social equality against standing fees. It’s time for the regulator to look again at this obvious rip-off of poorer customers.
Peter Carter
Earlier deputy director general, Office of Electricity Regulation

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