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“Stop when you reach £40” (Supermarket shopper)

This week the BBC* asked Tesco Chairman, John Allan, how his customers were coping with the cost of living crisis.

He replied that many were making big cuts in food spending. It was now common for checkout staff to hear a customer say ‘Please stop when you reach £40’.   

Among those customers will be people who pay for energy with a pre-payment meter. No more money means no more heat or light. 

Self-disconnection takes different forms. 

Justin King: Low income
shoppers everywhere.

Today there was more radio* debate about inflation with another retail expert. Justin King was Sainsbury’s CEO for a decade until 2016. He is now a non-executive director at M&S.

Justin King explained store strategies for display of value range (cheapest) products. Whatever the neighbourhood ‘every supermarket has people shopping on a limited budget’.

Asked for his opinion on how government should help this fast-growing group, he said it must target those most in need.

Use the benefits system

Up to now support had been widely based and therefore expensive. In the pandemic ministers succeeded in helping families through universal credit. ‘Targeting through the benefits system is where the government must focus’.

At Citizens Advice we agree. As an alternative, tax cuts do little for those on the lowest incomes. In our Cost of Living 2022 campaign we ask the government to:

  • Target support to those most in need
  • Match benefit increases to the rise in inflation
  • Improve the Warm Homes Grant.

* BBC Radio 4 Today 10/05/22 and 11/05/22



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