Millions are set to benefit from new government cash payments for low-income households to help them deal with the growing cost of living crisis in the UK.
The payments, which total £650, come as inflation has reached 9 per cent – its highest level in 40 years – and is forecast to climb higher still this year to 10 per cent.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “We have a responsibility to protect those who are paying the highest price for rising inflation, and we are stepping up to help.”
The cost of living crisis has been exacerbated by a series of global crises, most notably the pandemic, during which time many companies either cut staff or went out of business altogether, and Russia’s war with Ukraine, which began the day Covid-19 restrictions lifted in the UK.
The war in Europe and subsequent sanctions on Russia, including a shift away from Russian oil imports, has driven up the price of oil. The average cost of filling a 55-litre family car passed £100 last week and energy prices are continuing to rise as much of the market is still reliant on fossil fuels.
Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey said the government is “taking action to directly help families with the cost of living” and that the new payments are part of a £37 billion cost of living support package putting money “into the pockets of those most in need”.