Written evidence from Organise CLP0007

 

Organise is a network of workers from all sectors of the economy, supporting each other to get better pay, conditions and recognition at work.

 

 

This people-powered report is made up of the responses of thousands of Organise members who took part in a survey on the effectiveness of cost-of-living support payments. Its aim is to bring together a snapshot of the experiences, views, and voices of the British public who are calling on the government for further support to help make ends meet. [1]

 

 

The headlines:

 

 

 

 

78% think the eligibility requirements for Government cost of living support payments are too strict.

 

 

44% of people who did not receive any cost of living support payments think they should have done.

 

 

63% think the government were ineffective at making people aware of cost of living payments.

 

 

89% believe that the Government should prioritise increasing funding for cost-of-living support programmes in the upcoming budget.


 

 

 

Overview:

 

Of the 6,451 people surveyed 61% of respondents had received some sort of cost of living payment. 735 received low-income payments, 808 received disability payments and 1,317 received pensioner payments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of those who did not receive any cost of living payment, 44% think they should have and another 35% are not sure.

 


 

"If you received a cost of living support payment, did

 

it help you with the costs you were facing?"

 

Below is a snapshot of quotations from Organise members in response to the question above.

 

 

They helped for a very short period but I’m also trying to help out family members who didn’t get the payments.

 

 

The initial payments helped towards rising utility bills but as the costs of everything have increased month on month each consecutive payment has fallen shorter of actually covering costs. I’m now living with credit card debt and a utility account shortfall that I’m looking to try to pay off with this years payments but I know they are spaced too far apart to catch up. If the costs stay the same or keep rising the debt will grow before I receive the summer and autumn payments. As for the disability payments, my extra costs each year for my health conditions already exceed what I receive in benefits by several hundred pounds. Many times I have to choose what to sacrifice to manage finances, my health or daily living needs. I’ve already cut out buying clothes, having haircuts, reduced eating to breakfast and one main meal stopped my cat's vaccinations, and reduced showers to 3 a week. There are many aids I need to live better with my conditions that I just can’t afford to buy or replace when worn out. £150 was never going to be enough. An increase overall in monthly benefits would have been more beneficial long term. Disabled people and people out of work still deserve a full-time living wage.

 


 

 

A little but they didn’t make a huge impact given that energy, sent and food have all gone up at an alarming rate!

 

 

Not really enough support and not given early enough to be able to keep up to date with bills. So causing anxiety and stress.

 

 

We get tax credits so received the £650 but we lived in temporary accommodation so we didn’t receive the £150. The money helped as we had just moved into a new house but it didn’t really make a lot of difference as all the bills were higher and food prices rocketed so while we were not struggling as much as we would have been it was still hard to make ends meet especially with Christmas and young children.

 

 

Very much! The loss of the uplift came just as prices started skyrocketing. I don’t know what I would have done without the cost of living payments. I don’t know why being on benefits means you only get the bare minimum to survive, except when there’s an emergency.

 

 

 

 

 

The comments suggest that theost of living payments did help people, but only to a limited extent. They helped pay bills and prevent people from going into debt, but many felt that the payments were not enough to cover all the rising costs of living. The rising cost of food, gas, and electricity was a major issue, and people felt that the payments did not keep up with inflation. Many commented that the £20 uplift to Universal Credit would have been more beneficial in the long term, and the government should provide more support for disabled people and those out of work.


 

 

"How effective do you think the Government was in making people aware of cost of living payments?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

63% of respondents think the government were

 

ineffective at making people0 aware of cost of living

payments

0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only 14% thought the government were effective


 

 

3 key policy recommendations:

 

 

 

Increase financial support for vulnerable groups, including the elderly, disabled, and those on disability payments.

 

 

 

 

Nationalise or cap energy companies to reduce energy costs.

 

 

 

 

Implement a sliding scale system of support for cost of living expenses based on family set-ups, and increase benefits to help struggling individuals and families.

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

"What ongoing support should the Government

 

provide to help people with the cost of living?"

 

 

 

Below is a snapshot of quotations from Organise members in

 

response to the question above.

 

 

 

They need to make the energy companies charge less and they need to set up a nationalised green energy company. It would create jobs in all communities!

 

 

There should be an option for the money to be put either on Gas or Electricity, or both, so that people can make the most of it, and social landlords should pass savings on to tenants where tenants have to purchase utilities through them.

 

 

An increase in benefits, a reduction in utility costs, real effort to reduce people’s rent, food, fuel and living essentials.

 

 

Nationalise energy companies or cap what energy companies can charge since they have record profits.

 

 

 

More tailored support to the cost of living based on family setups. A one size fits all type of payment doesn’t work as families have more expenses and usually have bigger bills than a single person or a couple.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

"In your opinion, are the eligibility requirements for Government cost of living support payments too strict, too lenient, or appropriate as they are currently?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Do you believe that the Government should

 

prioritise increasing funding for cost of living support

programmes in the upcoming budget?"

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Summary:

 

The comments express a range of opinions on the government's response to the cost of living crisis. Some believe that the government needs to do more to help those who are struggling, including increasing universal credit, lowering energy costs, and providing more support for working-class individuals. Others feel that the current benefits system is not fit for purpose and that the government should be doing more to prevent energy companies from increasing costs to consumers.

 

 

However, some believe that the government's support is appreciated but that it is only a temporary solution to a much larger problem. They feel that the government needs to address the root causes of the cost of living crisis, including collaborating with corporations and fixing problems at the source. There are also concerns about the eligibility criteria for cost of living support payments and that it is currently too strict for some individuals who are struggling.

 

 

Overall, there is a widespread belief that the government needs to act decisively and bring costs down to prevent further suffering for working people and ensure that everyone has access to the support they need to survive.

 


 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this report.

 

 

These quotations have been anonymously shared by people in the Organise Network.

 

 

 

 

Notes:

 

[1]  Organise survey: Government inquiry: Cost of living support payments https://the.organise.network/surveys/cost-of-living-support-payments-inquiry/results