Not only are millions of people going to be cold and hungry due to the ever increasing cost of energy. Small businesses will be forced to shut because they will no longer be able to pay the extortionate energy costs forced upon them.
Small businesses are hugely important to local economies. They bring growth and innovation to communities. They also help to boost economic growth by providing employment opportunities for people that might find working for big businesses difficult.
The pandemic had a very detrimental effect upon small businesses forcing many to shut their doors The surviving ones are now facing a new struggle, vastly rising energy costs combined with the also increasing cost of living.
There is no price cap given to small businesses and many are now being forced to pay astronomically high energy bills without any help offered by the government and prospective Prime Minister candidates.
Increasing their prices aren’t the answer either. Theres only so much that a customer will pay before walking away having to shop elsewhere. This will leave many small businesses little option but to shut. This will render both business owners and employees unemployed forced to claim social security, undoubtably leaving them at the mercy of the DWP providing little if any understanding and support.
No longer can we take for granted that the local chippy down the road will still be open, the local pub might be forced to shut, the local cafe or restaurant even hairdressers as well, leaving town centres and local communities desolate places providing nothing for the community.
It’s easy to dismiss the importance that local economies play in the bigger scale. They’re vital for the growth of the national economy and their closure will effect it greatly.
Rumours of an upcoming recession have been murmured by financial organisations for quite a while. This is resulting in some big businesses to no longer trade with the UK.
The announcement that we are facing a recession caused many to rethink their investment strategies after all who’s going to want to trade with a country in deep financial trouble?
It’s not only small businesses that are being affected though, some larger businesses are facing financial difficulty leaving investors to sell their shares and walk away leaving them in a very difficult predicament indeed either forcing them to be shut or taken over by another business larger than themselves.
I fear that the upcoming recession has been greatly underplayed by the government. It’s going to be devastating for the country as a whole and along with the effects of Brexit the pariah of the western world, after all who in their right mind would want to invest in the UK when it’s in such a mess.
Small businesses need financial help to enable them to conduct business as soon as possible but I don’t expect the government to care, after all they value nothing but themselves and their tax dodging friends.
Enough Is Enough.
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As to be expected the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) has taken full advantage of their new ‘way to work’ campaign and the return to normal service after lockdowns during the pandemic.
It is estimated that nearly 110,000 people claiming Universal Credit were sanctioned in May. This figure has more than doubled in six months . It’s also important to remember that this is despite the cost of living crisis whilst people are struggling more financially than they ever have done in recent times.
Sanction levels were however rising steadily through autumn and winter, but increased dramatically after the DWPs Way to Work was implemented was in February. Compared to 74,746 people that had been sanctioned in January rising to 93,479 March compared to 106,710 in April.
The governments ‘Way To Work’ programme forces every claimant eligible to apply for every job available rather than jobs suited to them because of work experience and qualifications.
Not only is this damaging emotionally and physically to each claimant forced to do this I fear it’s equally as frustrating for employers as well leaving them forced to trawl through job applicants that aren’t suitable for the jobs advertised, after all. Doesn’t every employer want applications from people that not only aren’t qualified for the work advertised? They’ll most likely be very unenthusiastic about applying for said jobs but are forced to do so or else face a DWP sanction.
Not only are the job vacancies are often not local to where they live, the DWP fails to take into account that public transport is expensive and not always available. The cost of travelling to work using their own transport being equally as such.
Basically if a claimant doesn’t follow the DWP’s orders for legitimate reasons and concerns they will undoubtably face being sanctioned.
Whilst implementing this new ‘Way To Work’ programme the government and DWP are totally failing to recognise that the UK is going through a cost of living and energy price crisis.
Claimants are already struggling to feed themselves and their families, which to be honest is near impossible as it is and to be faced with a sanction will undoubtedly leave them destitute without any hope for the future.
Can you imagine not being able to turn a light on in your house ,not able to cook any food, unable to use any electrical equipment that aid your day to day living such as powered wheelchairs, stairlifts, fridges and suchlike?
The DWP by continuing with their cruel sanctioning system and low benefit payments is knowingly forcing people to become destitute, left in the cold and dark, unable to travel anywhere to find work or access help.
It is inevitable that many people will fall under the radar for any assistance that may be available. There will be deaths, possibly many deaths without a care for their welfare from the government and of course the DWP.
It’s also important to remember that many claimants have been refused the cost of living payment due to being sanctioned with guidance to DWP employees telling them to refuse the payment to certain claimants if their benefits were stopped.
According to Dan Bloom from The Mirror, the DWP internal website said that people weren’t eligible if they had a “nil award” due to their earnings, however it made no mention of benefit sanctions, and said if people had a nil award due to rent or debts being deducted, they “might still be eligible”.
To put it clearly the decision is made by the DWP and often, as we have seen throughout the years, their own personal opinion and pressure put on them by their supervisors and managers.
I predict that thousands of people will have undoubtably missed out on the payment, without the strength or the knowledge that’s needed to appeal against DWP decisions such as these.
With Rishi Sunak announcing during his leadership campaign that he will be “much tougher” on the benefits system saying “if there are hours to do and there’s a job going people should have to take the job.” The future for people claiming Universal Credit and disability benefits looks even bleaker than before.
Anyone claiming benefits for whatever reason should not be bashed in such a manner especially during an election campaign.
They deserve kindness and respect after-all they’re fighting a battle that no politician will ever have to fight, without not knowing if they’ll be able to survive the next day never mind the next year.
The Bank of England has announced its largest interest rate rise in almost 30 years. The UK now faces soaring inflation rates and cost of living expenses.
The Bank of England has warned that this will result in the UK economy being plunged into a recession for more than a year this autumn as the rising energy prices push inflation above 13%.
The Bank also forecasts that the combined five quarters of economic contraction, a 5% fall in real-terms living standards, and increased interest rates by 0.5 percentage points will result in the largest single inflation rate rise in 28 years.
The Bank’s baseline forecast is also forecasting the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to fall by 1.25% in 2023 and 0.25% in 2024. This will show the first example of two years of annual economic contraction since the 1960s.
The Bank’s Monetary Policy committee voted 8-1 to increase the base rate to 1.75% as an attempt to prevent the inflationary impact of soaring energy prices being compounded by domestic price and wage pressures.
The interest rate increase will add around £650 to annual mortgage repayments for those with an average tracker mortgage. Monthly tracker repayments for homeowners have been increasing since interest rates began rising from 0.1% last December (2021) at around £170.
This relentlessly cruel inflation rate which now is going to be the highest since September 1980, is being driven by the ever increasing cost of wholesale gas on the international markets. This has doubled since May and is now on course to treble domestic energy bills.
This is a cost that the poorest and most vulnerable will not be able to meet.
The Bank also believes that the domestic energy price cap is expected to reach £3,500 per household in October. This will push the inflation rate to peak at 13.3% in the fourth quarter of this year and is also expected to remain above 10% until the middle of next year.
However the Inflation rates are also forecasted to fall back slightly to 9.5% in the third quarter and 5.5% by the end of the 2023.
The domestic energy price cap is sadly expected to increase again when the energy regulator Ofgem will review the costs in January. The MPC (Marginal Propensity to Consume) believes that the inflationary impact will be offset by falls in other areas. It has also said that the goods price inflation costs may have peaked but commodity prices are already beginning to fall back.
Real living standards are forecasted to fall by 1.5% this year and 2.25% next year, with a 5% decline. This includes the direct government support payments of at least £400 per-bill payer. These payments don’t even scratch the surface of the real life devastating impact of increasing energy costs that less well off people are already facing.
A five-quarter recession which will end in the first quarter of 2024 would be very similar in length to the financial downturns of 2007-08 and also the early 1990s and early 1980s. However this won’t be as deep as the previous financial crisis with a predicted decline in GDP of 2.1%.
The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee have also stated that the ever increasing energy prices are responsible for the majority of the rise in inflation, but also keep in mind the continued COVID supply chain disruption is still playing a significant factor in rising costs.
The MPC is also forecasting that wages will rise by 6% this year but has also warned that as the recession starts to take hold unemployment will probably begin to rise next year from the current 3.8% sending it to peak at 5.5%.
The explanation given by the MPC is as follows: “The United Kingdom is now projected to enter a recession from the fourth quarter of this year. Real household post-tax income is projected to fall sharply in 2022 and 2023 while consumption turns negative.”
“The labour market remains tight, and domestic cost and price pressures are elevated. There is a risk that a longer period of externally generated price inflation will lead to more enduring domestic price and wage pressures.
“In view of these considerations, the Committee voted to increase the Bank Rate by 0.5 percentage points, to 1.75%.”
Personal finance expert Gemma Godfrey is quoted as saying on Sky News
“The Bank of England had a “tough challenge” when it came to trying to control inflation and it was a “war on all fronts”.
She said: “The Bank of England has a really tough challenge where they’re trying to control inflation, but they don’t want to tip us into recession.
“So what we’ve been hearing for the past few months is that our economy has been slowing down. We’re not spending as much. Companies aren’t selling as much. And that obviously risks jobs.
“But obviously, everybody is aware that our everyday living costs are rising. They’re set to rise by more than five times as much as the target the Bank of England sets.
“And it’s a war on all fronts, it’s food, it’s energy, people are really struggling. So the Bank of England will try and increase rates to try and slow this down.
“But there’s calls that they’ve been too slow or they’re being too aggressive. It’s a very tough balancing act for the many millions of families around the UK.”
Responding to the Bank of England’s announcement today, Labours shadow chancellor Ms Reeves said Tory leadership candidates were “touring the country” and announcing unworkable policies that would not help people get through the cost of living crisis.
She said: “This is further proof that the Conservatives have lost control of the economy, with skyrocketing inflation set to continue, while mortgage and borrowing rates continue to rise.
“Labour would help households right now by removing the tax breaks that are subsidising oil and gas producers and using that money to help people now, including by cutting VAT on energy bills.”
Meanwhile The Labour Party have failed to commit to lowering energy costs.
Conservative former chancellor Ken Clarke has warned of a “very unpleasant” winter for many households in the country.
Lord Clarke of Nottingham told the BBC: “Nothing is certain, but I’ve thought for some time we faced the risk of an extremely serious recession.”
“This winter is certainly going to be very unpleasant for many households in the country and I think it’s absolutely inevitable the Bank of England acted as it did.”
“I’d have been rather alarmed if they hadn’t put it up by at least 0.5%. I think the Monetary Policy Committee probably considered 0.75%… but decided in the present circumstances that that was too fast.
“They’ve taken the right decision and they’re going to have to do it again as the year goes on.”
Meanwhile this leaves the average person facing spiralling cost of living expenses and dramatically increasing energy costs whilst receiving little or no adequate financial help or support.
Without adequate financial help the UK will undoubtably face thousands of vulnerable people suffering or worse as the poorest always pay the highest cost for these increasing prices.
Action needs to be taken now to prevent these possible deaths by tackling OFGEM and their refusal to challenge the energy companies.
There isn’t a person with compassion that can think that it’s ok for energy companies to profit in such a manner whilst people face a long, bleak winter with no sight of help or relief.
However with the Conservative Party and probable future prime minister Liz Truss at the helm of the country, they will undoubtably find a way to profit from this situation whilst ignoring the scale of the energy and cost of living crisis that the UK is facing.
Martin Lewis recently announced that energy costs are predicted to reach an all time high both in October and January. This will leave thousands of people that are struggling to pay their energy costs unable to do so.
This raises the questions:
How will disabled people live?
How will low income families live?
How will the elderly live?
How will children live?
How will single people live?
How are we all supposed to survive this?
One thing I do know is that the government aren’t in any rush to help the public, they’d rather be scrapping amongst themselves to be the next Conservative Party leader than to help the public with an ousted Prime Minister at the helm.
As soon as the predicted energy price rises were announced both Martin Lewis and campaigners such as myself have requested that the government provides more help to everyone that is eligible after October and in January.
The response was silently deafening….Radio silence, not a word and absolutely no reasoning as to why they’re allowing energy prices to rise to an unbelievable high. It doesn’t matter how much people are told to budget it’s impossible to budget with zero money to budget with.
Winter in the UK can be pretty brutal, cold and unforgiving. I predict households will be forced into desperation to heat their homes. Some might see no option other than opening up disused fireplaces, forced to do so because of the rising cost of energy bills leaving them no longer able to use their central heating.
Desperate times result in desperate measures.
Meanwhile whilst vulnerable people are already struggling theres news from the US bank Citi and Centrica the British Gas owner.
According to Centrica, the British Gas owner will be announcing a return to giving dividends. They are also planning to return £0.5-£1bn to shareholders either through shares or repayment of debt.
These plans will go ahead at the same time as energy bills are predicted to hit £3,300 in January compared to £1,971 at present. This is due largely to soaring gas prices. Citi bank also sees scope for profit from both the company’s nuclear, energy markets and trading divisions. This will be reflected in the production volumes and volatile commodity markets.
This could result in a half-year dividend of 1.1p which is expected by the bank with a 3.8p payment for the full year.
Whilst the public are struggling to pay their energy bills and keep up with the increasing cost of living crisis, Centrica have decided to give each other a pat on the back for a job well done. It’s Machiavellian and cruel beyond belief.
You couldn’t make this shit up.
This winter will truly be a winter of discontent for millions of vulnerable people. We need a general election and a Labour Party government and it can’t happen soon enough.
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The current price cap, which is set to rise in October, is £1,971 a year which was already a £693 rise (54%) from the previous cap six months earlier.
Ofgem chief executive Jonathan Brearley told the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that in October it will increase to “in the region of £2,800”.
With this announcement comes the question of how people are going to be able to afford this extortionate price increase.
Already we are seeing thousands of people unable to use their gas and electric because they can’t afford it, no longer is they’re going to be a choice of heating or eating, they won’t be able to do either.
Whilst campaigners such as Martin Lewis are questioning the government as to how the public are going to cope, their words fall upon deaf ears and are ignored by the government that clearly appears not to care.
The truth is that we are dependant upon being able to heat our homes. It’s essential to have an electric supply to get by on a day to day basis, especially if disabled and have additional needs. Being forced to live in cold dark homes puts people at a very high risk of becoming ill or even dying.
It makes no difference how much you can budget and save when every penny is having to be spent on the ever increasing energy prices, although the likelihood is that bills won’t be paid because of a lack of ability to do do.
Not only will this affect the consumer it will also affect the energy suppliers that are dependant on their customers paying their bills to continue trading. I suspect that many more will be forced to shut therefore leaving both the consumer and the economy in a very precarious position.
The truth is that yet again the obscene energy price increases are yet another devestating choice that’s been made by the government. It’s pretty obvious that they don’t care how the average person will suffer and what a detrimental affect this will have to the public and to the economy.
It’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode and something has to give before we start to see the serious ramifications of the ever increasing energy costs. I and others predict that thousands are at risk of becoming seriously ill or dying. We must do everything that we can do to prevent this from happening.
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With much celebration yesterday evening the DWP announced that their plans to start migrating people from all legacy benefits to Universal Credit (UC) with a commencement date being May 9th. Their target completion date being December 2024. This will leave approximately 900,000 of households worse off whilst claiming UC.
Not only will thousands of claimants previously claiming legacy benefits be hit with lower payments they’re set to also face a benefit freeze leaving them in a much worse financial situation they are already in. They will also be faced with the distress of being forced to accept this whilst struggling financially to cover the basics.
The DWP claim that legacy claimants will be sent a ‘migration notice’ with a three-month deadline to make a claim for UC. If they don’t accept the migration notice or don’t receive it as is often the case with letters from the DWP their benefits will stop. This will undoubtably leave thousands of already vulnerable people not receiving any help to do so with the majority of people claiming legacy payments being disabled and ill people already struggling with day to day costs.
The DWP are quoted saying that legacy claimants will receive transition payments to ensure their income does not drop, however how many times have we heard the DWP make statements like this and don’t fulfil their promises.
As a direct result of this migration previous legacy benefit claimants payments will be effectively frozen every April with no end date given. This is because their transitional payments will abrade each year as UC rises with inflation whilst waiting for it to match up with what they’re being paid.
This is very concerning especially because 500,000 claimants forced to migrate claim ESA and are disabled and ill, causing extreme distress and worse with predictions being that they will face being much worse off financially.
We already know that UC is a cruel, harsh system that deliberately punishes the most vulnerable leaving thousands in extreme poverty and distress. UC benefits the government alone giving them the perfect opportunity to punish working class people for simply existing.
Whilst the government and the DWP are rubbing their hands in glee we must continue to support each other and campaign against the governments cruelty, it’s the only way that we will survive this.
Combined with the energy price crisis and the ever increasing cost of living I have no doubt that thousand will die as a result of this forced migration.
God help us all.
EDIT: FROM PAULA PETERS. Also will add the UC regs for legacy benefit support group claimants are not in place yet and still being discussed the white paper on work and disability is important to Keep an eye on.
Huge thanks to Dan Bloom over at The Mirror for being the inspiration for this piece and a Twitter follower rooneygmusic for sending me the info over last night.
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It’s another week and yet more questions as to why the government still haven’t released the Universal Credit WCA statistics. Their refusal to release these statistics can only lead me to believe that they’re trying to hide them most probably because the stats are pretty dire.
This isn’t unusual for the government and the DWP they’ve got a long track record of denial and refusal.
It appears that the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) aren’t impressed with their refusal to release these stats either so they’re demanding to know why the pass and fail rates for the WCA for universal credit are still secret, despite it being nine years after the benefit was introduced.
The question is becoming ever more important because approximately 1.7 million ESA claimants are due to be forcibly transferred to UC by the end of 2024 loosing their legacy benefits and the security that comes with this.
The question is this why have the figures for claimants that have been found to be capable of work or to have limited capability for work (LCW) or for work-related activity (LCWRA) been published for ESA since 2010 and not these important statistics?
What exactly are the government trying to hide?
Unsurprisingly the same figures have never been published for UC since the benefit was introduced.
IN 2017 the government promised that the UC WCA statistics would be available for viewing. Rather predictably they haven’t been provided and there is no indications that they ever will be.
The amazing team over at Disability News Service have been pursuing the DWP over its lack of transparency for some time and eventually resorted to having to approach the OSR for help.
As a result the OSR have now written to the DWP asking why the figures have not been published.
My bet is that they’ll ignore their request as well.
The main reason as to why these figures are so important is because Universal Credit claimants could be more likely to be assessed incorrectly and placed in the wrong LCW or LCWRA groups for UC. Therefore theres no guarantee that they’ll be placed in the same groups as they were when claiming ESA despite the fact that the tests are virtually identical.
More transparency and clarity needs to be urgently given regarding this issue especially as thousands of already vulnerable people will be quite rightly concerned when they are forcibly moved onto UC.
Universal Credit is a cruel heartless machine that targets the most vulnerable. These figures are needed to help and protect those that will be forced to claim it.
A huge thank you to the gang over at Benefits And Work for publishing this information and keeping us informed.
Are you interested in joining a group of likeminded people for solidarity and maybe some campaigning? You can’t go wrong if you join Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC). They have lots of local branches that you can join.
Head over to https:manchesterdpac.com I’ve been working and campaigning alongside them for many years.
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