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It’s nearly over but are families’ ‘heat or eat’ choices?

To the relief of many the general election is nearly over. These past few weeks the nationwide Citizens Advice network has been in active campaign mode.

Families living on empty has not been an election issue.

Our worry is that parties and candidates have had so little to say about the problems facing many of the people we help. In debates and manifestos you have to search hard for anything specific to improve living standards for the least well-off.

This is a pity, because does anyone think long-term solutions to the central election issues are possible with a large part of the population left behind?

Living on empty

Across the country, including prosperous parts, families are ‘living on empty’ or financially insecure – lots of them. If your rent accounts for half your income ‘heat or eat’ choices become only too likely. The causes are well-known:

  • income from benefits long running behind inflation
  • despite welcome rises in minimum wage, work still doesn’t pay for many on low incomes
  • energy costs down today but still far above pre-cost-of-living crisis levels
  • private rents rising more than earnings for years (and high rates hitting mortgagors).

We have been highlighting these gaps in the election conversation, in one post a little bit tongue in cheek.

Now it’s all nearly over we focus on our top priorities for the next government: working-age benefits to reflect the real cost of living, better energy bills support, social tariffs to make all essential markets affordable, and reforming local housing allowance for private renters.

When the dust settles we look forward to meeting our new MP and establishing a good working relationship on behalf of clients.  

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