Rishi’s postcode lottery on cost-of-living help: The 10 places seeing the least benefit from Government’s bailout as desperate families struggle with soaring inflation
- New analysis shows 4m ‘squeezed middle’ households missing out on support
- Those in Council Tax bands E to F are not eligible to receive the £150 rebate
- Among those is a widower in his 80s who only eats two meals a day to cut costs
- Charity warns of ‘a tsunami’ of ‘want and deprivation’ without extra help
The 10 areas where households are least benefiting from cost-of-living support have been revealed as ministers scramble to put together a package of extra help.
A new analysis has shown that four million ‘squeezed middle’ households are currently missing out on the same level of Government assistance handed to others in the face of soaring bills.
Among those is a widower in his 80s who is only eating two meals a day in order to save on food costs.
Earlier this year, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced millions of households will receive £350 of Government support to help protect them from rising energy costs.
But £150 of that help was in the form of a Council Tax rebate, which is not being given to all.
Those in Council Tax bands E to F are not receiving the rebate, with the Chancellor accused of having left ‘millions of squeezed-middle families out in the cold’.
There are also fears about those, particularly the elderly, who are ‘asset rich but cash poor’ and not receiving the extra help.
Council Tax bands are based on property values from more than three decades ago, in April 1991.
Those in Council Tax bands E to F are not receiving the £150 rebate announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak earlier this year
The Chancellor announced millions of households would receive £350 of Government support to help protect them from rising energy costs – but £150 of that help is not being given to all
The new analysis, conducted by the Liberal Democrats, revealed that one in six (16 per cent) of all households are in bands E to F and are therefore not getting the support.
The worst part of the country for excluding middle-income families from support is Surrey, where nearly one in three households (31.2 per cent) are in council tax bands E-F, equating to more than 158,000 households.
Hampshire, Essex, Kent, Hertfordshire, West Yorkshire, West Sussex, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Devon are also among the top 10 areas where households are least benefiting from cost-of-living support.
Haydn, who is in his 80s, was widowed in 2014 and now lives alone.
Even with his single occupancy discount, he still pays more than £2,000 a year in Council Tax and his electricity bill already takes more than 12 per cent of his total income.
He described how he’d ‘had to tighten my belt’ to cover costs and will not be benefitting from the Council Tax rebate as he is not in the right band.
‘If I was entitled to it, it would have gone towards the electric but only taken a little off the top of my bill,’ he said.
‘We are the fifth richest country – but who will protect us from poverty?
‘The problem is I am asset rich and cash poor. I think this summarises a lot of people in my village as many of us bought these houses back in the day when we all had two incomes.
‘There will be a lot of us left out. I only eat two meals a day – so I can’t cut down anymore on food.’
Ofgem’s expectation for the energy cap in October is £2,800 for a typical family – compared to £1,972 at the moment. Before April it was just £1,277
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey accused the PM of ‘leaving millions of squeezed-middle families out in the cold with no support’
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, told MailOnline that the Council Tax rebate was ‘nowhere near enough’ to address the cost-of-living crisis.
She warned the squeeze on incomes is ‘pushing millions into deep financial hardship and leaving them unable to afford the basics’.
‘It’s very clear that a £150 Council Tax rebate is nowhere near enough to meet the scale of need,’ she said.
‘There are also numerous older people who do not qualify for it but who could really do with some extra support.
‘We are also hearing that some older people who are entitled to the rebate are not managing to get it because the process requires an email address and they do not have one.
‘No one should lose out because they are not online – local authorities need to sort out an offline application mechanic as a matter of urgency.’
With inflation soaring close to 10 per cent, Age UK are calling for ministers to target further help at pensioners living on low fixed incomes, as well as those of working age who are dependent on benefits.
Ms Abrahams also outline how a one-off payment of £500 to those on the lowest incomes would also ‘help a great deal to buffer them from the unprecedented hikes in energy bills we have already seen’.
She warned a lack of further action would see ‘a tsunami of unacceptable levels of want and deprivation this autumn like we have never seen here in modern times’.
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey repeated his call for the Government to impose a windfall tax on energy companies in order to fund extra support for struggling Britons.
He said: ‘It is scandalous that Boris Johnson is leaving millions of squeezed-middle families out in the cold with no support for rising energy bills.
‘From Devon to the Home Counties and Yorkshire in the North, families who are just about managing across the country are being left behind.
‘The oil companies are raking in billions off the backs of families and pensions. The country is crying out for a windfall tax and can’t understand why ministers won’t budge.
‘Boris Johnson has turned his back on the squeezed-middle who are burdening the worst of the unfair tax hikes and getting nothing for it in return.
‘With a winter of discontent looming on the horizon, this cost of living crisis is only going to get worse, and the public will never forgive ministers for refusing to save them.’
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, told MailOnline that the Council Tax rebate was ‘nowhere near enough’ to address the cost-of-living crisis
The PM and Mr Sunak have repeatedly promised to come forward with further support for Britons.
But they have wanted to wait until the full impact of global energy price volatility is known before acting.
With the war in Ukraine continuing to exacerbate the worldwide energy crisis, it is expected that Ofgem will announce in August another huge hike in gas and electricity bills as Britain heads into autumn and winter.
Energy boss have predicted annual bills could soar close to £3,000 when an increased price cap comes into force from October.
When he announced the Council Tax rebate in February, the Chancellor said the one-off payment would benefit around 80 per cent of all homes in England.
He also insisted it was £1billion more generous and more targeted towards lower-income families than a VAT cut on energy bills.
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