What is Rishi Sunak’s cost-of-living-crisis plan?

With two million adults in the UK revealing that they cannot afford to eat due to the catastrophic cost of living crisis, households up and down the country are consistently faced with having to decide whether to eat or heat their homes.

In fact, according to an article in the Independent, the number of people struggling has risen by 57 per cent in three months, with people stating that they are already skipping meals, eating one meal a day or going hungry.

And, these eye watering revelations are only set to get worse as the year goes on.

But what is Rishi Sunak’s cost of living crisis plan and how is it set to help the millions of households in the UK already affected?

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Last year, Rishi Sunak set out a £15bn emergency package of measures to help support households struggling with the rising cost of living after major concerns were raised surrounding rising energy costs.

Funded by a temporary windfall tax, Sunak stated that the emergency package would

provide: “significant support for the British people.” And this intervention comes at a time when it is most needed, with families across the UK wondering how they are going to get through the Winter months.

What are Rishi Sunak’s cost of living measures?

 The measures outlined by Rishi Sunak are as follows:

The chancellor announced universal support measures that all households in the UK will benefit from. The existing £200 repayable loan the government was set to give households in October will now be turned into a grant and doubled, with every UK household now receiving a £400 discount on their energy bills.

There is also financial support for the poorest households, with those on the lowest incomes set to receive a one-off cost of living payment of £650.

Pensioners who receive the winter fuel payment will receive an additional one-off payment of £300.

The six million people in the UK that receive disability allowance will also be entitled to an additional payment of £150.

Although these measures will not combat the cost of living crisis completely, it is hoped that they will bring some light relief to families up and down the country. After all, we are experiencing the worst decline in living standards since the Industrial Revolution as the price of energy, food and fuel continue to soar at a rapid pace.

 What progress has been made?

Halving inflation

The government’s top priority was halving inflation by the end of 2023 using a measure called the Consumer Prices Index, which tracks the price of a typical basket of everyday goods.

The Government’s aim was to reduce inflation to 5.3% or lower in the last three months of 2023. Did he succeed? Yes he did, inflation was at 10.7% in the three-month period between October and December 2022, and for the last three months of 2023, it  was 4.2%, that’s below half the rate it was the year before. 

Growing the economy 

Rishi Sunak also pledged to “grow the economy” as much as possible, especially during  the three-month period of October to December 2023. Measuring the activity of companies, governments and individuals, figures from the back end of last year have revealed that there has been very little growth during this period.

Cutting NHS waiting lists

Mr Sunak was quoted stating in the media that: “NHS waiting lists will fall and people will get the care they need more quickly.”

Data has revealed that the overall the waiting times for non-emergency treatment in England was 7.6 million in November, and although this figure was 96,000 down from October, it was 400,000 higher than the beginning of 2023, meaning there’s still a lot of work to be done. 

Reducing debt

In December, figures revealed that government debt was still high, sitting at 97.7%.

This figure was 1.9 percentage points higher than December 2022, with debt still remaining high. The Office for National Statistics stated in the media that debt: “remains at levels last seen in the early 1960s”.

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