Queen’s Speech must not fail our oldest & poorest as they struggle with this devastating cost of living crisis
Comment by Jan Shortt, General Secretary, National Pensioners’ Convention:
“The National Pensioners’ Convention sincerely hopes the government will use the Queen’s Speech to prove it cares about our oldest and most vulnerable.
The government has promised a host of new Bills in tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament (Tuesday, 10th May) aimed at delivering upon their ‘levelling up agenda.’
But they urgently need to level up the cost of living – the escalating price of essentials such as food and energy - for older people and those on low incomes as they face one of the worst financial disasters in memory.
Spiralling energy costs, rocketing inflation and a succession of government policies which have lowered the real value of pensions and benefits, mean millions face real poverty in the coming months.
Evidence is growing daily that people are being overwhelmed by energy price hikes that have seen their fuel bills more than double. While 1 in 7* - 6.8 million - are missing meals because they simply cannot afford to buy food.
This is a scandalous situation, and it looks set to get worse.
The government must surely start to pay attention when the boss of a leading energy provider - Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power* – says around 40% of UK households, potentially 10 million homes, could be in fuel poverty this winter.
We hope the government heeds his call for ten million households to have their energy bills reduced by £1,000 this October to help people survive this crisis. If his forecast that the average household’s energy bill will more than double - rising up to between £2,500 and £3,000 a year - then huge numbers of customers will be unable to pay their bills, and face going into debt. This, in turn could threaten the viability of the energy companies themselves.
The NPC will be watching the Queen’s Speech carefully. This is not a time for the long game – ordinary people desperately need help now. We hope the government does not miss this opportunity to save millions from suffering in the coming months.”
* Food Foundation report:
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