1.5 million people will struggle with bills over the coming year, says think-tank

THE National Institute for Economic and Social Research has warned that 1.5 million people will struggle to pay household bills over the coming year due to the cost of living crisis.

Professor Jagjit Chadha, head of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR), told GB News: “We’re terribly concerned about the impact of the increase in inflation and the extent to which that is making it very hard for households at the bottom of the income distribution, potentially to be paying their household bills this year, both for fuel and for food.

“Let’s be clear – it’s actually these households that have also suffered the most in the last couple of years because of Covid.

“They’ve generally been in more precarious jobs, and also working in areas that have been supporting the rest of us, in health or sheltered care or transport…it’s incredibly important that on equity grounds that they don’t suffer inordinately this year.”

Professor Chadha was speaking to Liam Halligan in an interview during On The Money on GB News.

He said economic measures in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement would do little to help those most in need.

“We found the Spring Statement was nowhere near as helpful as it ought to have been, and that’s why we worked after that to try and understand what can be done.

“Even if we respect the arbitrary fiscal rules that the Chancellor feels he was bound by, there is significant space to do more for these households. At least £10 billion is available.

“You don’t have to believe our figures because they’re the ones published by the OBR at the time of the Spring Statement, in fact, there’s even more money available than that.”

He said that the Government has a responsibility to assist people reeling from the economic effects of Brexit, Covid, and the war in Ukraine.

“Governments must stand up in a responsible manner, and help people deal with it. These events are not the fault of the people who are suffering.

“Therefore, it’s not only a matter of equity, it’s also actually helping people to just have more stability in their lives.

“We all know how we will deal with instability. It’s going to lead to other types of social tensions and problems that can be avoided if the Government acts in a more responsible manner and that’s why we’ve really been very careful with our analysis.”

Professor Chadha added: “To come up with the kind of suggestions that we have in place today we think the cost of this would be between £4 billion and £5 billion.

“It’s in no way threatening the overall fiscal position, but it would enable those very households to deal with the bills that they’re going to face over the spring, and the summer into the autumn, and we can’t wait.

“We can’t just hang around and wait till November.”

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