Cost of living: Pensioner calls for more support ahead of Chancellor's 'mini-budget'

  • Watch Graham Stothard's report on the cost of living pressures people are facing this winter.

There are growing fears that not enough is being done to protect the vulnerable this winter, as colder temperatures see the cost of living start to bite.

Foodbanks say they are seeing more and more vulnerable people desperate for help, as well as those in full-time jobs needing support.

The government is preparing to announce new measures to help ease the costs this week, and from Tuesday those with disabilities will begin to receive a one-off £150 payment.

But with temperatures dropping, households across the country are already having to make tough decisions about when to switch the heating on.

Caroline Wright, a 75-year-old who lives in Eaglestone, Milton Keynes, is preparing for her toughest winter yet.

She was previously in hospital with hypothermia and is desperate not to end up in that situation again.

Caroline says she has not been to a foodbank yet as she does not want to take what others may need more. Credit: ITV News Anglia

She said: "I'm dreading winter. I've got a choice between heat or eat, and that is no choice at all.

"My fuel is out of the window. My rent's just been put up by. Another £200 or something like that.

"And I just don't know what I'm going to do except wrap up in a blanket. And I hope it's not too bad."

Caroline, who grows her own vegetables in her garden, has not yet turned to a food bank.

She says she is afraid she would be taking help from those need it more and believes the government should be helping more.

"[The support] isn't anywhere near enough," she said.

"And it's not just me that's going to suffer. It's all the other people.

"There are literally millions of people out there who will suffer.

"I think it's disgusting.

"It's a modern day and age and here I am wrapping up in a blanket, wondering if I'm going to live through winter. We're in 2022. Not in 1822."

In Colchester, the All In project funded by the Eastlight Community Homes programme, has seen local people chatting to other residents to try and come up with ways to tackle the problems they're facing with the cost of living.

All In, a local residents group, discusses the best way to deal with the issues people are facing. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Jessica Taylor, who is part of All In Colchester, said: "I think everybody in every household right now is having a big debate with themselves, is it time?

"Because the temperature has changed but it's not quite winter.

"How long can we afford to put the heating on for?

"Is it one month this year, is it three months like most years? So I think everybody might be investing in more blankets and I can see a lot of households keeping it off for as long as possible."

As the rising cost of living affects more and more people, volunteers at Colchester Foodbank in Stanway say they're seeing a growing number of people in full-time employment walk through the doors.

Volunteers at Colchester Foodbank believe the government could do more to reduce the impact of the rising cost of living. Credit: ITV News Anglia

They hear the problems people are facing daily and have ideas for where the government could help.

Mike Beckett, Chief Officer at Colchester Foodbank, said: "One way is to reduce the waiting time for universal credit, something they've done in Harrogate in the pilot. 

"It's doable and it would help us and help people not to need the foodbank. 

"The two child limit for welfare benefits - removing that would help people not to need the foodbank.

"The third one is an uplift. The government took away the uplift in October but we need it more than ever and for people in work, the real living wage would make the difference."

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng will deliver a "mini-budget" on Friday, setting out details of help for households and businesses struggling amid the cost of living crisis.

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