THE TRADES UNION CONGRESS (TUC) and anti-poverty charities have been commenting on the energy cap rise, interest rate rise and the Chancellor’s measures to address the cost of living crisis.

THe TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady said: “The Chancellor’s announcement is hopelessly inadequate. For most families it’s just £7 a week and more than half must be paid back. It’s too little, it’s poorly targeted, and it’s stop gap measures instead of fixing the big problems.

“Britain needs a pay rise. The best way to help families is to get wages growing again. But this government has no plan to end pay misery.

“Ministers should be getting urgent help to families that need it most through raising universal credit. And we need a windfall tax on the excessive profits from North Sea gas to cut bills and boost investment in affordable energy.”

Katie Schmuecker, Deputy Director of Policy and Partnerships for the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: “The Chancellor has offered cold comfort to families in poverty, who are already rationing what they can spend on essentials such as heating and food. These families are now expected to find at least half of the eye watering increases in energy bills, when many are already getting into debt to keep their houses warm and food on the table.

“Three quarters of those who can claim the enhanced support are not in poverty. Meanwhile inflation is set to rise at more than double the rate of benefits. This support will not get people through the next few months and it will not protect those most at risk of hardship.

“People in poverty are hit hardest by all these pressures because our social security system is simply not offering adequate support, and until that changes they will continue to be exposed to every economic shock. The Chancellor has made his choice, the harder choices will now be coming for those who still can’t afford essentials for themselves and their families.”

The Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group, Alison Garnham, said: “A day after the levelling up fanfare, the Government’s piecemeal measures won’t protect low-income families either now or in the future. Surging energy prices are only the start of the crisis and what’s needed is comprehensive help with across-the-board price rises. The most efficient way to help households is to increase benefits to match inflation and anything less than a rise by at least six per cent will leave families in a desperate situation.”

Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact at Save the Children, said: “The measures announced by the Chancellor today are too little, too late. A 54 per cent increase in energy bills is a terrifying prospect for households on low incomes. Millions of parents will be lying awake tonight trying to figure out how to keep their families afloat in the months ahead. And the steps announced by the UK government today won’t ease those fears.

“This investment isn’t anywhere near enough to close the gap in household budgets, it deliberately hasn’t been targeted at the poorest households, and it will come too late for many who are cold and hungry right now. To really tackle the cost-of-living crisis we need more than eleventh-hour firefighting measures. It’s time for sustained investment in the social security system to lift children out of poverty and insulate families from rising costs.”

* Sources: Save the Children, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Child Poverty Action Group