Charities are calling on the Government to “urgently” do more this winter as the DWP’s “negligible” Christmas Bonus is not enough.
The first £10 Christmas Bonus was paid in 1972, which would have been worth well over £100 at the time.
However, this amount has remained 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.
Michael Clarke, head of information programmes at charity Turn2us, said: “For people in dire financial straits, Christmas is just another week struggling to make ends meet. This is a negligible sum which barely covers the rising cost of everyday food since last year, let alone a Christmas dinner.
“For the rest of the year, those on the lowest incomes will still be unable to afford the basics needed to live and there is no government support for energy this winter.
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“An all-year-round fix is needed, and that’s an intervention to catch people before they fall into crisis because our social security system should provide the protection to weather this storm.
“The Government should ensure that as a minimum, benefit levels are increased to meet the true cost of living.”
The UK’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate is still running high at 6.7 percent, with food prices rising at 13.6 percent in the year to August 2023.
Meanwhile, the Ofgem energy price cap is currently set at £2,074 per year for the average household. In the summer of 2021, the price cap was around £1,138 per year.
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Sarah White is head of policy at the national disability charity Sense, which supports people living with complex disabilities including those who are deafblind. She said: “The rising cost of living is putting disabled people under enormous pressure.”
Research carried out by Sense found three in five people (59 percent) with complex disabilities are struggling to afford their energy bills.
Ms White said: “Unfortunately, this tiny £10 Christmas bonus is just another example of the Government demonstrating it doesn’t really understand the huge extra costs of being disabled.
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“Sense is calling on the Government to urgently do more to help this winter, including introducing a social tariff for energy that properly recognises the higher energy costs disabled people face.”
A DWP spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We are helping households with one of the largest support packages in Europe – including benefit and pensions increases of over 10 percent, record financial support worth around £3,300 per household and the biggest ever increase to the National Minimum Wage.
“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.”
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