Over eight million households across the UK will get £326 paid into their accounts today in a bid to help with the cost of living crisis.
In what is part of the government’s £37 billion support package unveiled amid the cost of living crisis as inflation, energy prices, and general living costs continue to soar, almost one in four families across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will get £326 sent directly to them from today.
It’s the first of two payments these households will receive – with the second instalment of £324 to be sent later this year.
Most people who are entitled to the first instalment of the payment will receive it between now and 31 July 2022, the government has confirmed.
Households who are eligible for the payment due to the fact they receive tax credits and no other eligible benefits will receive their first instalment from HMRC in the autumn, and the second instalment in the winter.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will administer payments for customers on all other eligible means-tested benefits.
People do not need to contact the government, or apply for the payment at any stage.
In addition to the £650 Cost of Living Payment, all domestic energy customers in the UK will also receive a £400 grant to help with energy bills, and those in Council Tax bands A-D in England will get a £150 rebate – which has already been sent to many households.
This will bring the government’s support to £1,200 by the end of the year.
On top of that, nearly one in ten people will also get a £150 disability payment this autumn, and more than eight million pensioner households could get an extra £300 from Winter Fuel Payments in both November and December.
“Just as we looked after people during lockdown, we will help them get through these tough economic times,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of the payments.
“Today’s payment is the signal to millions of families that we are on their side and we have already promised more cash in the autumn, alongside other measures – including our Help for Households – to support the vulnerable and ease the burden.”
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi added: “It’s great that millions of the families who are most in need are starting to receive their cost of living payments, which I know will be a massive help for people who are struggling.”
The Chancellor said the payments are “a vital part” of the government’s support package.
The first Cost of Living Payments hitting accounts today comes after the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has warned of the UK heading into a potential recession – especially with “soaring energy costs” and “geopolitical tensions” being contended with.
It warned that “many threats remain” going forward.
“With rising inflation potentially tipping the economy into recession, continued uncertainty about our future trading relationship with the EU, a resurgence in COVID cases, a changing global climate, and rising interest rates all continuing to hang over the fiscal outlook,” the OBR said.
Major property developer criticised for ‘anti-sex worker’ billboard in Manchester city centre
One of Manchester’s most recognised property development companies has faced backlash this week for a ‘disgraceful’ billboard placed beside its newest residential site.
The enormous advertisement was erected beside Capital & Centric’s Crusader Mill and Phoenix developments in Piccadilly East.
On it are the words ‘From red light, to green light’ – a slogan that’s been branded as a ‘discriminatory, anti-sex worker billboard’ by a local charity.
Capital & Centric has now acknowledged that people ‘don’t like the banner’ and said that it will be changed.
MASH (Manchester Action on Street Health) offers support to women who sex work – be it for emotional wellbeing or sexual health – and has its headquarters near to the new billboard.
They wrote: “We’re saddened that a discriminatory, anti-sex worker billboard has been put up nr MASH.
“If we want Manchester to be a welcoming city where all can thrive, this isn’t the way.
“We stand with sex workers, always. Help to counteract the hate by supporting us mash.org.uk/donate.”
On Twitter, one person said: “Disgraceful for a property developer to espouse any kind of morality over sex workers who were here decades before them ~on a literal billboard~. @CapitalCentric you should be ashamed of this.”
Someone else said: “Unbelievably poor taste advertising from so-called social impact investors at @CapitalCentric.”
Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital&Centric, said: “There’s been a handful of comments on social media from people who don’t like the banner. We never want to cause upset, so it’s being changed.
“Anyone who’s followed us will know about our efforts to have positive social impacts on the communities where we work.
“From building new homes and creating inclusive neighbourhoods, to actively supporting those most in need by working with frontline homeless charities.”
A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware of an advertising banner installed by Capital and Centric in the Piccadilly area.
“We understand that this banner was not intended to cause offence and they have agreed to remove it.
“Capital and Centric play an important role in the city’s development, working with a number of voluntary and community organisations in this area, and have apologised for any unintentional upset caused by this marketing campaign.”
Featured image: The Manc Group
The public will get to have their say on the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone – but not until 2023
New reports have suggested that the Greater Manchester public are to be consulted on the latest Clean Air Zone (CAZ) proposals – but this won’t be done any time soon.
The closest thing to a public response from the government on the plan was when environment secretary George Eustice said he believed there was “little robust evidence” that it will work effectively.
Mr Eustace suggested that taxis, vans, buses, and lorries should still be charged in the city centre.
It’s now being reported that, ahead GMCA’s plan for a non-charging CAZ is to be formally-submitted to the government in its final form following a meeting on 16 August, ‘targeted engagement’ is currently taking place on the proposal and an online survey for some motorists is set to launch in a couple of weeks – but this will not go out to everyone.
ITV Granada reports that transport bosses have confirmed the wider public will not be able to have their say on the new proposals until early 2023.
This has already been met with criticism from industry leaders and campaign groups.
Prominently addressing the fact the public will not be consulted on plans until 2023, spokesperson for RethinkGM – a campaign group set up in opposition to the Greater Manchester Clear Air Zone – said: “It is extremely disappointing that leadership of Greater Manchester continue to ignore the public and residents of the region once again, by leaving public consultation on any CAZ scheme until early 2023.
“With a national cost of living crisis currently under way and residents now choosing between eating, heating and survival, GMCA still fail in their duty to residents and maintain their ill-advised attempt to impose further unnecessary limitations on livelihoods.
“It is quite clear that this scheme now needs scrapping in full and consideration given to the poor, low paid, business and those suffering above all else.”