'Negligible' Christmas bonus not enough

47
1
'Negligible' Christmas bonus not enough

Charities are calling on the government to do more in the next winter as DWP's 'negligible' Christmas bonus is not enough. The first £10 Christmas bonus was paid in 1972, which would have been worth more than a whopping £10 million at the time. However, this amount has been unchanged for the past 50 years, except for a one-off increase in 2008 when it was temporarily raised to £70 during the financial crash. For the rest of the year, those with the lowest incomes will still be unable to afford the basics needed to live and there is no government support for energy this winter.

This storm should be an intervention to catch people before they fall into crisis, because our social security system should provide the security to weather this storm. The UK's Consumer Price Index inflation rate is still up at 6.7 percent, with food prices rising 13.6 percent in the year to August 2023. The ofgem energy price cap is currently set to be £2,074 per year for the average household. In the summer of 2021, the price cap was around £1,138 a year.

Sarah White, who heads the national disability charity Sense, supports people living with complex disabilities such as those who are deafblind. Three in five individuals with complex disabilities are struggling to finance their energy bills, said Sense researcher Dr. Jennings of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. She said that she does not fully understand the huge costs of being disabled.

On top of this, we will be paying many people their benefits earlier over Christmas and continuing the £10 bonus at a time when budgets are often stretched, a DWP spokeswoman said.