The government has announced that more than 300,000 households in Northern Ireland are going to receive a payment of approximately £300 this spring to help them with the cost of living crisis which has enveloped the whole of the UK.
Households On Means-Tested Benefits Are Being Targeted For Help
These households will be ones that are on means-tested benefits and there will be other payments released during the course of the year to give help to the most vulnerable sections of society. These will include a £150 payment in the summer which will be for those with disabilities and a £300 payment next winter for pensioners. There will also be another cost of living payment in spring 2024 of around £300, which the government will hope will be enough to see people through the next 12 months or so.
Talking about these payments, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride is quoted in an article in the Belfast Newsletter as saying:
“These direct payments will help people right across the UK over this year and the start of the next, as we continue to provide consistent, targeted and substantial support for the most vulnerable.”
Mr Stride added: “Our wider support package, including the Energy Price Guarantee, will ensure every household is being helped through this challenging period of high inflation, caused by Putin’s illegal war and the aftershocks of the pandemic.”
Government Believes They Are Providing Significant Support Through These Challenging Times
In the same article Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is quoted as saying:
“High inflation, exacerbated by Putin’s illegal war, is hurting economies across the world and making people poorer.
“These payments are the next part of the significant support we are providing through this challenging time, with millions of vulnerable households receiving £900 directly into their bank accounts this financial year alongside additional help for pensioners and those with disabilities.”
Also Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris is quoted in the article, saying: “This further cost of living support will continue to help those most in need across Northern Ireland.
“The Government is committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our society.”
These payments will be a very welcome relief for many households up and down the country but whether they will be enough to make a huge difference to their current predicament remains to be seen. And will this money, which will hopefully seep back through the local economy, make a difference to local businesses which are on the edge due to the cost of living crisis and the big rises in their energy bills? These are very difficult times for so many in our society.