THE ENERGY PRICE FREEZE announced by the new Prime Minister still leaves low-income families facing a vast gap compared to last year, as rising costs outstrip government support, says the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

JRF estimates Liz Truss’s announcement – that energy prices will be capped at £2,500 including the £400 energy bill rebate – is worth on average around £900 to a low-income family.

When combined with the Government’s other policy responses such as lump sum payments of up £650 and a £150 council tax rebate as well as the £400 energy rebate, families receive around £2,100.

But JRF’s analysis finds this isn’t enough to meet rising energy and other costs – around £2,900 in total – leaving a gap of around £800 that these families will have to find themselves. This means millions of families still face a winter going without essentials like food or hygiene, or borrow money at increasing interest rates, just to meet the rising cost of living.

After April 2023, this gap will become even wider because the Government has not committed to renew the raft of support measures it unveiled earlier this year.

JRF chief analyst Peter Matejic said: “The Government’s energy price freeze headed off a stratospheric predicted price increase from October but struggling households remain extremely worried about how they are supposed to fill this gap.

“This shows Liz Truss’s job isn’t done. When she unveils further plans as part of her fiscal statement she must remember the many low income families suffering in hardship. They deserve to know what additional support the government will pledge as cost-of-living pressures continue.“

* Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation