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125 years of tackling poverty: How Many More?

Our latest research highlights people’s desperate financial insecurity ahead of the first instalment of government rescue package.

Published
12/07/2022
This article is 19 months old

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This year, Turn2us reaches an important milestone of tackling poverty in the UK. Our story began in 1897, when Elizabeth Finn set out to help people struggling to make ends meet. Now, 125 years later, we are still here, enabling people experiencing life events to be more financially secure, or even to lift themselves out of poverty, through our practical financial support, information and programmes. 

 Despite the UK being one of the world’s wealthiest economies, we see more people struggling to afford life’s absolute basics every single day. The cost of living crisis continues to push millions of people onto the edge of a financial crisis. Our latest survey of 2,730 of our service users lays bare the impact of soaring living costs, with almost half (47%) left with nothing to live on each week after paying housing, council tax and utility bills.  

Impossible choices  

That same group of respondents report weekly food costs of £75 - which means that many are pushed into debt just to put food on the table. For families with children, weekly food costs rise to £93 per week – and 49% report that they have nothing left to live on each week.  

As a result, we are hearing from parents who are skipping meals to try and keep their children fed, or who are making impossible choices between paying rocketing energy bills or rent. This isn’t right. Many people using our services come to us when they are at their most desperate and we fear the worst is yet to come over the coming months. 

£650 one-off payment: why more must be done  

The cost-of-living crisis must be the wakeup call to take urgent action. The £650 one-off payment –half of which is expected to come this Thursday- is a welcome cash injection for some, but the significant shortfall in people’s incomes to pay for vital essentials like food means that most of it will be used up in less than five weeks. Over a quarter (26%) of our users plan to use the first £326 payment to help pay for debt, and over half (52%) plan to use it to help pay a debt for utility bill arrears. This leaves nothing to cover additional costs like food or fuel price rises.  

 More must be done in the longer term to ensure everyone can afford the basics and not be reliant on one-off acts of generosity from the government.  

It is therefore vital that benefits are increased in line with inflation as a minimum and that our social security system is strengthened in the future. As a country, we must ask ourselves how many more of us need to fall into crisis before we’re given sufficient support to weather this storm? 

The #HowManyMore campaign  

We believe the government has the power to catch people before hardship spirals into long-term crisis. We are calling on them to: 

  1. Increase benefits in line with inflation and through an additional uplift to meet the cost-of-living. 

  1. Invest long-term in crisis support to enable councils to quickly respond to severe need. 

  1. Stop unaffordable rates of Universal Credit deductions for advances and debts immediately.   

Turn2us is asking ‘How Many More’ to raise vital awareness of financial insecurity. Join us in campaigning to make a difference. Sign up to the campaign today.