Worcester Labour’s Deputy Group Leader, Jabba Riaz, has sounded the alarm about the cost of living crisis, amid reports that the government is to lift the cap on energy prices.
Talking as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt rejected calls to prevent a sharp rise in domestic energy bills in his march budget, Councillor Riaz issued a statement outlining the stark situation across Worcester. “As city councillors active in local communities, the whole Labour group sees first hand the impact the cost of living crisis is already having on residents, even with the energy price cap in place.Schools across the city are now being co-opted into providing food and counselling to pupils, and we are having to provide guidance to school leaders on how to access support systems. Food bank deliveries, which were unheard of as recently as 2010, are now booked solidly through their entire delivery windows. As well as the long-term sick, disabled people and job-seekers, recipients include working people whose jobs do not pay enough to live on, with even nurses reliant on food aid. We have been working to reduce child poverty and food poverty since setting up Task and Finish in 2019. Too many families in Worcester were struggling even before this latest cost of living crisis.
Foodbank itself is now having to give out a dedicated number for the Citizens’ Advice Bureau through which people can access direct support on food and energy, such is the demand. It has also been forced to set up satellite operations around the city, as the original premises are now beyond capacity. Much of our casework is now informed by the cost of living crisis, which has knock-on impacts on physical and mental health, crime and neglect. Moreover, small pubs, cafes, restaurants are unable to afford to operate if the cap is lifted, they are already struggling. Failure to keep the cap in place could see hundreds of small Worcester businesses going to the wall, putting many local people out of work and damaging the opportunity to grow the economy after the covid lockdowns. It’s a Tory double whammy, hitting the public and small business, hurting the poor and the entrepreneur.”
Worcester Labour’s parliamentary candidate Tom Collins echoed this sentiment on Twitter, calling on the Conservative government to prevent further price hikes to mitigate the cost of living crisis. “The level of hardship being faced by families in Worcester is utterly unsustainable. It is Government decisions in Westminster that left UK households vulnerable to energy price rises. Now we need decisions to prevent the poorest from paying the price

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