Low income families are facing the cost of living crisis without the government support they had in the pandemic

A new report, draws on research, which followed a group of low-income families through Covid and now escalating inflation. Insecure work, low and fluctuating incomes from work and benefits, and managing health and family needs, meant that stability could be hard to find even before Covid.

Managing through the pandemic was tough but families appreciated government initiatives such as furlough, the £20 a week addition to Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay from day one, and free school meals vouchers in the holidays which provided some help amid financial instability. But these key measures have been withdrawn just as the cost of living crisis deepens, and selective reduction in Council Tax bills, or piecemeal assistance via the Household Support Fund will only very partially compensate for rapidly rising costs. 

The report suggests actions to help families dealing with soaring costs and future uncertainty including:

  • Uprate social security benefits in line with inflation – to avoid adding to the long term cut in the value of benefits.
  • Easier access to additional support – measures applied automatically in the pandemic were more responsive than ad hoc support that people have to know about and apply for.
  • Improve employment security with sufficient wages, rights that fit in with family life, and Statutory Sick Pay from day one.

Read the report here.