The Government It must intervene urgently to help families grappling with ballooning energy costs – or risking a “full economic crisis” and mental health emergencies, charities and think tanks have warned.
Several agencies said Friday’s high energy price ceiling will plunge many families into extreme poverty and put children, the disabled and the elderly at grave risk this winter.
They said many retirees would feel “absolutely bewildered” and “extremely frustrated,” while people with disabilities “actually feel they are being penalized for using more energy.”
The groups said it was “simply inconceivable” that price hikes could go ahead without significant government intervention, and that “the growing sense of powerlessness will not subside” until it puts in place concrete plans to help.
They are urging the government to respond on a scale similar to how it has handled the coronavirus pandemic.
The government is developing more options to support families, as civil servants work to ensure that any additional cost-of-living commitments are made “as quickly as possible” when Prime Minister in the place.
Becca Lyon, Head of Child Poverty at Save The ChildrenHe described the high price ceiling as a “comprehensive economic crisis for thousands of families.”
“Children are at grave risk from today’s announcement and could be spending this winter in cold homes, with fewer hot meals, despite the best efforts of their parents and caregivers. Our children deserve better,” she said.
“Debt and hardship are the only possible outcome” from the rise, she added.
Rethinking mental illness called the news a “hammer blow” to families across the country.
Alexa Knight, associate director for policy and practice, said: “Mental health and money concerns are intrinsically linked, and we urgently need a clear response from the government to the economic crisis that could lead to a mental health emergency.
“There is a growing sense of powerlessness that will not subside until we see concrete plans from the government on how to deliver targeted support over the difficult months ahead.”
Families “call for certainty and security,” said Katie Schmucker, principal policy advisor to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
“It is simply inconceivable that the price hike announced today could have proceeded without further widespread government intervention,” she said.
Imposing the burden of wholesale rising energy prices on households will plunge many into extreme poverty.
“Millions more will risk bills they simply cannot pay, homes they cannot heat, and linens they cannot fill.”
She said the next prime minister will be remembered by those who protect him, and must ensure that “energy does not become a luxury that only the wealthy can afford”.
UK age He said getting through the fall and winter is a “really scary prospect” for seniors who have very little flexibility in their fixed income.
Charity Manager Caroline Abrahams He said: “We are rapidly approaching a national emergency that will leave a large proportion of the population unable to afford even a basic standard of living.
“Every day old people tell us how afraid they are; they need urgent reassurances from the government that they will not abandon them.”
The cost of charging a wheelchair or using a breathing machine will nearly triple within a year, said Tom Marsland, policy director at disability charity Scope.
He said: “We have been inundated with calls from disabled people who don’t know which way to go and feel they are being punished for using more energy.
“The government has to step in now.”
Thomas Lawson, CEO of Turn2us National Poverty, said a “rapid rise” would be disabling.
It was no longer a choice between heating and eating, he said, but also an unaffordability.
“This is an emergency as big as the impact of Covid and it needs a similarly confident government response.”
A spokesperson said the government has recognized people are “extremely concerned” and support will continue to reach those most in need.
“The civil service is also making appropriate preparations in order to ensure that any additional support or commitments on the cost of living are made as soon as possible when the new prime minister takes office,” he said.