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StepChange responds to new inflation data

24 May 2023

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell to 8.7% in April, down from 10.1% in March. While it’s positive to see the overall level of inflation coming down, StepChange Debt Charity says its clients are still struggling with the historically high cost of food and other essentials.

Richard Lane, Director of External Affairs at StepChange, said:

“The sharp fall in inflation today is welcome news after over a year of soaring prices for essentials. Yet while inflation is moving in the right direction, the price of food in particular remains alarmingly high, and households are unlikely to see any difference in their already stretched budgets.

“We’re now seeing the real impact of the cost of living crisis on our services, with demand for debt advice at its highest for more than three years. Arrears across household bills are a particular pressure point for our clients, with more than half (55%) of new clients in arrears on their dual fuel bills.

“The government must acknowledge the millions of households who will continue to struggle to put food on the table and cover their essential household costs, despite the overall level of inflation going down. To prevent widespread financial hardship, a start would be to pause punitive deductions from benefits to help those on the lowest incomes through this difficult period.

We’d also like to see targeted funding to write-off energy arrears for households who simply cannot afford to pay. In the longer term, a social tariff for energy would act as a permanent solution to protect financially vulnerable households from debt and fuel poverty.”

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