Residents of Huddersfield say they have been forced to wait for vital financial support designed to help them cope with the cost of living crisis.
As many people struggle with the rising cost of bills, Chancellor Rishi Sunak last month announced £15billion of support to help struggling households. It included the National Insurance Threshold increase and a £400 cut on energy bills for every household in the country.
Ahead of the larger support package arriving, Mr Sunak confirmed in February that most households would receive a £150 council tax refund. But some Huddersfield residents told this week how they were forced to wait months for the money.
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Others lamented a lack of communication from the government while some called the overall response to the crisis a “disaster”.
Lynne Mitchell said she only received her £150 council tax refund a few days ago. “I didn’t realize you had to phone for this,” she said. “They (the council) already had my details as I’m retired so I assumed he had just fallen. I only found out when my neighbor told me. She hasn’t yet his own.”
Lynne added that she had been left puzzled by the government’s response to the cost of living crisis and told Yorkshire Live she was still unsure what help she would receive. “I have no idea how much the flat rate is because it’s constantly changing,” Lynne said. “Until I get it, I don’t trust it, let’s put it that way.”
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Linda Hoyle, from Huddersfield, said she had not received the £150 council tax refund as she was deemed ineligible, but admitted she had reduced essentials like heating and lighting food.
“I’ve only had one cooked meal this week because I don’t dare use the oven,” she said. Linda, whose quarterly gas bill has risen by 54 per cent to £100, said the extra money expected to arrive in her bank account under the government’s new support package would be a ‘blessing’.
“I’m looking forward to this money,” she said. “It can’t happen soon enough. I’m going to have to carry on as I am at the moment. It robs me of my quality of life.”
A 64-year-old man from Lepton, who did not want to be named, said he had received council tax refunds “in the last month” after enduring “a fair amount of waiting”. He said the money was “balancing the books for a month”.
“I’m in a privileged position to be retired and can afford to work things out, but that (the cost of living) still has an impact,” he said. “The biggest increase is in gas and electricity; it has increased by 50%.
“We have to be a little more careful about where we buy and what we buy. I think the government has been so focused on Covid, Ukraine and ‘Partygate’ that they’ve been caught off guard They’ve got some catching up to do. Even if it’s just the messages they’re putting out.”
Malcolm Young, who was visiting Huddersfield from Kent, lambasted the government’s response to the cost of living crisis. He said: “They’ve handled it extremely badly. It’s really a disaster, but that’s normal with this government. The way they juggle people’s finances makes it harder for low-income people to make face.”