Rasen Mayor speaks out on cost of living crisis

Market Rasen’s Mayor has given his support to this newspaper’s Heat & Eat community campaign that launched last week.

Coun Stephen Bunney is supporting the Heat & Eat campaign EMN-220120-072937001
Coun Stephen Bunney is supporting the Heat & Eat campaign EMN-220120-072937001

District and county councillor Stephen Bunney has been concerned about the rising costs for households for some time - an issue highlighted further during the pandemic.

Now, with utility costs set to soar - and local food banks seeing another rise in those asking for assistance - he says action needs to be taken now.

“Lots of people can’t cope and they do not have a voice.

“The increasing cost of utility bills will just create further issues spiralling down.”

New analysis published last week by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), has revealed as many as 1.8 million children are growing up in the most extreme levels of poverty, meaning the household’s income is so low that it is completely inadequate to cover the basics.

The study, part of the foundation’s State of the Nation report, has shown that households on low incomes will be spending about 18 per cent of their income after housing costs are taken into account on energy bills after April, when the energy price cap is expected to rise dramatically.

For single adult households on low incomes, the figure rises to 54 per cent, an increase of 21 percentage points since 2019/20.

Coun Bunney has been lobbying Market Rasen’s MP, Sir Edward Leigh, to help those who are facing crisis and having to make the choice between heat or eat.

In a letter to Sir Edward, he wrote: “The Market Rasen area had 545 households in fuel poverty [2018 data] , as quoted in WLDC State of The District Report 2020 [the highest number in any area of West Lindsey] a statistic that is only going to climb in the current economic circumstances.

“Experts are warning that the new energy price cap is expected to be increased to £1,865 when it is reviewed next month and to well over £2,000 when it is reassessed in the autumn.

“A rise for households and businesses [as estimated by The Office of National Statistics] of over £700 per annum is not a welcome prospect at a time when families are facing rising expenditure through price inflation, increased taxes [NI & council tax] and in some cases reduced benefit payments.

“As a nation we are in need of a substantial package of support that provides immediate support and relief to those struggling to get by, while helping people [and landlords] insulate their homes to drastically reduce heating bills in the long term.”