We are facing a cost-of-living crisis.
Inflation is at a 40-year high and the cost of household essentials like food, energy and fuel have rocketed. Energy bills increased by over 50% in April 2022 and are set to increase by a further 40% or more in October. By January 2023, it's estimated that the average household could be paying over £4,200 a year for energy.
As everyday costs rapidly outpace wage and benefit growth, many of our neighbours are facing extremely tough times ahead. Many are already struggling to cope. Living in a rural county means that basic costs like fuel are already higher due to the distance from work, school or essential services, and a recent study from the Countryside Alliance found that rural households spend nearly £800 a year more on fuel than people who live in urban areas. Many of our neighbours also rely on more expensive modes of heating for their homes such as oil-fired boilers, where costs have also grown significantly in the last year.
There are over 43,000 people in Somerset who receive Universal Credit, many of whom are living in working poverty, defined as when a working person’s income, after housing costs, is less than 60% of the national average. A recent survey from The Trussell Trust of 1,500 Universal Credit recipients in February 2022 found that:
- half are either already behind on their bills or are facing a constant struggle to keep up with them
- one in three had been unable to afford adequate food, meaning they had more than one day in the last month where they didn’t eat at all, or only had one meal.
No one should have to choose between feeding themselves or their children. No one should have to choose between heating and eating. No one should be plunged into insurmountable debt to pay for basic living costs.
If you can afford to, please donate to our Somerset Cost-of-Living Crisis Appeal today to help us provide funding to vital local charities supporting local people in poverty.
Your donations will fund crucial local work such as debt advice, food banks, mental health support, help for people with disabilities or older people, and homelessness organisations. Our charities are also facing the huge challenges of increased costs to carry out their work, soaring demand and fewer donations from the public.
With your support, we can help our vital local charities so they can be there for those in greatest need in Somerset.
We will be running our Surviving Winter Appeal as normal this year to support vulnerable older people living in fuel poverty.
You can read more about it here.
Sources of help and support for individuals
For other sources of help and support for individuals who are worried about the cost-of-living crisis, click here.