This Christmas may just be one the most difficult for a lot of families around the UK because of the cost-of-living crisis.
People around the UK are finding it difficult to heat their homes, find money to treat their families at Christmas and provide food for their children.
This comes with the news that more councils in the UK have now dropped school holiday food vouchers for children around the country whose families who cannot afford it over the holidays.
If you are finding yourself in a situation that means you and your family require a little bit of help this Christmas then we have some tips and places which may be able to offer you the help you need.
Let’s start at the beginning though, with what seems to be causing a lot of people hardship this year, the cost-of-living crisis.
What is the cost-of-living crisis in the UK?
Simply, the cost-of-living crisis has been caused by the increase in the cost of living in the UK since 2021. Inflation reached its highest point in 41 years in October 2022 with a level of 11.1% before easing a little bit to 10.7% in November 2022.
High inflation rates affect the affordability of services and goods, both for service providers and consumers. When living wages aren’t increased at what is seen as a proportionate level, it makes it hard for people to keep their head above the water.
A lot of costs are being passed down to the consumer which is making it hard for people to afford things, even the necessities
The cost-of-living-crisis means a reduction in the account of disposable income people have. With some people struggling financially before the crisis, it really is a tough time for a lot of people in the UK.
Who is the cost-of-living crisis affecting?
According to the Institute for Government; 91% of adults in Great Britain have reported an increase to their cost of living between October and November 2022. There is also a real post-tax income expectation that expects the amount taken home by people in the UK to fall by 4.3% in 2022–2023.
A majority of people living in the UK are now being affected by the crisis and with Christmas generally being the most expensive time of year, it is getting harder and harder for families.
What is the cost-of-living affecting?
Well unfortunately it is affecting most things that involve spending money, which unfortunately is most things!
From high heating bills, high food prices, high fuel prices and expensive services, the cost-of-living crisis in the UK is affecting most aspects of life.
It has been reported lately that as many as 2 million households in the UK are going to behind on bill payments leading up to Christmas this year!
Along with the impact on your wallet, the mental strain of financial problems or worries is not good for yours, your family’s or your children’s mental health either. Finding help when you are in need is not a sign of weakness or a sign of you doing a bad job but a sign that you are trying to make things better.
What help is there for the cost-of-living crisis?
If you are struggling financially this Christmas, there are fortunately some ways you can get help which may help ease your mental anguish and the pull on your pocket.
This Christmas time there are hundreds of charities and children’s charities in the UK that offering to help families and children who are in the disadvantaged situation of either not having enough food, warmth in their homes or a present to open on Christmas day.
There are many charities about who are offering Christmas presents to children who are going without, cash for children who are vulnerable and charities that are offering cost-of-living grants for families in need.
The simplest way to find these charities is to either visit your local community centre or Google cost-of-living help. You can also find grants that support children and families on GrantsOnline where they have a huge list of grants that can help people in many situations.
The UK Government have set up a Cost of Living Payment to help with rising costs. This is available to you if you get a qualifying low-income benefit or tax credits. You don’t need to apply for this and it will be paid automatically for to you.
They have also set up the Energy Bills Support Scheme which provides a £400 non-repayable discount to households that are eligible. This discount is again automatic and you don’t need to apply for this.
With a lot of critics saying that the support is not enough, people are turning to other means of finding support.
In your local area there are often some incredible individuals and outreach groups who want nothing more to support their neighbours when times are tough. If you again look for a community centre nearby to you, on a local Facebook group or go to your local council advice bureau, you can be put in touch with groups that help with everything from food, bill payments and general support for those in need.
Though times are tough in the UK for a lot of people at the moment, there are some ways of easing the burden on yourself. It is important to take the help where you can because that is what it is there for. To help you and your family.
The most important thing to remember that Christmas is not about the gifts that people can ill afford, or the other the top turkey dinner but the time you spend with your family and your loved ones.