There's one storm that isn't going to blow over quickly...

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While storm Eunice wreaks havoc across the country today, there's another kind of storm brewing. It’s the storm of poverty, and it threatens to ruin the lives of thousands here in the East of England and millions across the country.

Put simply, the cost of living is rising far faster than income for the most vulnerable people in our community. For those of you who like statistics, here are the key ones:
 

  • Inflation hit a 30 year high of 5.5% in January [1]. Tesco warned shoppers that there is worse to come for food price rises [2];
  • Households on low incomes will be spending on average 18% of their income (after housing costs) on energy bills after April – that rises to 54% of income for single adult households on low incomes [3];
  • The average cost of renting in the East of England rose 3.4% in January 2022 – the largest increase in over 15 years and the third highest increase in England[4].

Against this backdrop of rising costs, think tank Resolution Foundation observed that wages in real terms dropped 1.2% in December, and are predicting that 2022 could herald the worst squeeze on wages since the recession of 1991.
 

Numbers are all very well, but what does that mean to families that were already struggling?
 

The reality on the ground

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Jo Goodhall leads our team of Community Outreach Advisors who provide practical help to such families. She says, “We’re sitting with people in their homes, hearing their hearts, hearing about their daily difficulties. One couple I met were both in tears because they simply don’t know how they’ll be able to make ends meet for their family. Dad was working until Christmas when he was laid off, and they have young children and a new baby. Money from Universal Credit simply doesn’t stretch far enough. With the increase in food costs and, in April, the rise in the cost of utilities, they won’t be able to afford to put the heating on. They won’t be able to afford food. This isn’t a question of them having to make choices about whether they can afford a takeaway or a holiday – they can’t even afford essential living costs.”

At REACH, we’ve issued record numbers of food parcels recently. We fed a record number of children in December. These coming price and tax increases are going to hit the least well off very hard and we are extremely concerned about the situation becoming dire in the coming months.
 

Will you help families who can’t afford to eat?

If you are someone who can afford to do more than eat or pay your utility bill, please do spare a thought for those that can’t, however hard they try.
And, if you are able, please would you consider making a donation today – or even better, a regular gift – so we can protect those in our community from real, biting hardship that means not enough food to eat and a miserable existence in a freezing home.

You can make a single or regular gift here:

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Or, if you need help yourself, get in touch

On the other hand, if yours is one of the families struggling to make ends meet, or you know a family that is struggling, please don’t wait, get in touch today on 01440 712950 or email info@reachhaverhill.org.uk

Thank you – we are so grateful for your support. You’re providing a lifeline to those who need it most, in what is fast becoming the worst economic storm for decades.

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Henry Wilson MBE
REACH CEO

 

[1] ONS Feb 2022
[2] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60279019 & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Allan_(businessman)
[3] Joseph Rowntree Foundation Jan 2022
[4] ONS Feb 2022



 

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