Citizens Advice: Turning down the heat report 2, December 2022 Update
In August 2022 we published a report that looked at how the cost-of-living crisis was
affecting people in North Staffordshire. In that report we outlined how rapidly rising prices were affecting people and driving the demand for advice, especially around energy, food, housing and debt.
Figure 1 (right) shows the trend of enquiries involving five key cost-of-living related topics
since January 2019. Throughout 2022 people needing help with these issues have been
turning to Citizens Advice in increasing numbers, despite a quieter period during an
unusually warm summer.
The data was drawn from those clients who have sought advice on issues affected by the
rising cost of living in 2022, with comparisons to previous years in some cases and I am
grateful to our national association, Citizens Advice, for pulling the data together and producing many of the charts. This version of the report updates that data from the end of August to the end of November.
The case studies are of actual clients who have sought our advice, but I have changed their identity to protect their confidentiality. Finally, we have updated the recommendations for
actions made in the previous report.
In August it appeared that there were few prospects of imminent improvement and therefore a sustained response was needed to avoid a local humanitarian catastrophe.
Fortunately, much has happened during the autumn both locally and nationally to address the crisis. This includes the very welcome relaunching of the Stronger Together partnership in Stoke-on-Trent, the Here to Help initiative in Staffordshire and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, who are planning further responses.
Nationally, from April 2023 benefits will rise by 10% and further rounds of the Household Support Fund have been announced. Targeted financial support will continue from April even though the Energy Price Guarantee, which has kept costs for a typical user at £2,500 p.a. during the winter, will rise to cost a typical user £3,000 p.a. from April.
But what we are seeing every day is how the cost-of-living crisis hits local families from all
sides and in particular the daily struggle to afford energy costs, food and rent.
Whether or not these measures will be enough to stave off a further crisis remains to be
Citizens Advice Staffordshire North & Stoke-on-Trent