The government wants big businesses to chip in and help struggling households, as Political Reporter Shehab Khan explains
A raft of retail deals are on offer to help families struggling with the soaring cost of living after the government teamed up with some of the UK's biggest businesses for the "Help for Households" campaign.
Inflation is currently at a 40-year high of more than 9% and is expected to reach 11% as the cost of essentials such as fuel and food pushes households toward breaking point.
The government recently rejected demands from unions to keep public sector pay in line with inflations, offering wage rises around 5%, but Boris Johnson said his retail support package will "provide much needed respite at the checkout".
He added: “This won’t solve the issue overnight but it’s yet another weapon in our arsenal as we fight back against scourge of rising prices and inflation.”
All the deals on are available to view on the government’s new Help for Households website.
What are the new deals?
London theatres will let children see a West End show for free in August with a fee-paying adult and half price tickets will be available for two additional children in the same group
Vodafone is promoting a mobile social tariff of £10 a month
Amazon has a page linking to free music and TV, learning resources and value groceries
Sainsbury’s is introducing it’s ‘feed your family for a fiver’ campaign, helping customers with budget-friendly meal ideas to feed a family of four for less than £5
Which deals were previously announced?
Asda’s ‘Kids eat for £1’ scheme, where children aged 16 and under can access a hot or cold meal for £1 at any time of day in Asda Cafes across the UK
Morrisons is offering a free meal for children at its cafes when bought alongside an adult meal that costs at least £4.99. The meal comes with a piece of fruit and juice or bottled water
Ikea is offering kids meals for 95p on their own or for £1.50 if you also buy a drink, piece of fruit and dessert. The offer started on July 11 and will end on September 3.
Dobbies garden centres is offering all children a meal and drink for £1 when purchased with an adult meal
Dunelm will give children eating at its cafes in a free main, two snacks and a drink for every £4 spent on other food.
Whitbread Inns, Brewers' Fayre and Beefeater is allowing two kids under 16 to eat breakfast for free with every adult breakfast purchased
Despite the government support, the Salvation Army said it is expecting to provide thousands of cooked meals and food parcels to children during the summer as costs continue to rise.
Carol McKean, one of the charity’s community managers in Sheringham, Norfolk, said she had constantly heard the phrase “I’ve never had to claim benefits before” from anxious parents “who look broken asking for help”.
“I know that, for these people, we are the last resort. They really are short of food for their kids, and some are saying they haven’t eaten for a couple of days so their kids can eat,” she said.
The charity has called for existing universal credit debt to be covered by the Government’s 60-day Breathing Space scheme, expansion of free childcare so parents can afford to work, and a new cross-Government taskforce to tackle the underlying causes of poverty.
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Meanwhile, Martin Lewis, founder of the Money Saving Expert website, said surging prices are triggering growing calls for a “consumer strike” on energy bills.
Annual household energy bills are set to rise further in October when the price cap goes up, having already risen by more than 50% in April.
Mr Lewis told ITV’s Peston programme: “The big movement that I am seeing is an increase of growth in people calling for a non-payment of energy bills, mass non-payment. Effectively a consumer strike on energy bills and getting rid of the legitimacy of paying that.”
He said more help was needed for the poorest people as they have the least financial resilience.
Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the programme: “People can’t pay so what do they do? Part of that political protest is about exposing the vulnerability that people have. People are very angry out there.”
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The government said its household support campaign will also provide fresh discounts during the back-to-school period, in autumn when energy bills are expected to surge to new record highs, and during the Christmas shopping season.
David Buttress, the government’s cost-of-living tsar and former Just Eat chief, agreed the deals with businesses.
He praised the campaign’s “good start” while making clear that “we’ve got more to do and more deals to announce – not just over the summer holidays but when kids return to school and in the run up to Christmas when costs are typically higher”.
Cost of living advice from the government can be found here.