Good advice, health and the cost of living crisis
Local need for crisis support grew in the second half of 2021-22.
Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell research for 2021-22 shows a rising trend in clients needing help to buy food or other necessities (chart below). This is in line with information from other charities including the Independent Food Aid Network and CA national network.
Steep and rapid rises in the cost of living were to blame. Many people’s incomes (whether from work or social security) fell behind leaving them ‘nowhere to go’.
Among the worrying consequences is the impact on public health.
Last week Dame Clare Moriarty, national Citizens Advice CEO, discussed the issue in a Health Foundation podcast. Links between poverty, anxiety and poor health have been well understood for decades. In modern times the work of Sir Michael Marmot is increasingly influential.
Dame Clare made the case for targeting government financial support more towards those most in need. At the same time she underlined the health connection and the potential of non-health-service interventions: ‘Good advice can make such a difference to people’s health’. And citing the development of new health partnerships she said: ‘We should put advice at the heart of that’.
We believe voluntary community support has a major part to play in easing the cost of living crisis and pressure on the NHS.
Last month Lisa Davis, our CEO, met the team at Epsom & Ewell Social Prescribing. Their work in partnership with local GPs is to help match the needs of patients with local services that will help them get better. They agreed on the importance of good advice and plan to work more closely in future.
As Lisa pointed out, many current Citizens Advice clients are living with long-term health conditions and grateful for the support we provide.
CAEE Cost of Living Campaign 2022
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