The reality of the squeeze

Jenny Herrera, our Executive Director, has spoken this week to UCB Radio about the impact the Autumn Budget will have on those who are already feeling the financial squeeze of the cost of living crisis.

While Jenny recognised that there was some good news that benefits and pensions would rise with inflation there was also some less positive news in the budget yesterday. As Jenny said "wages aren't keeping up, more and more people people are going to work and are still not able to make ends meet". She gave an example of C, who like many was "just coping". We received this request from her local Advocate on our website:

"C is a thirty year old lady, living alone in a cold house because she has no heating oil. She works forty hours per week, on a minimum wage, and was just coping until she lost one week's wages because of sick leave, due to Asthma. Her car also needs repairing. She has poor physical and mental health, finds budgeting difficult, currently feels she is in a dark hole and has considered suicide in the past. She has missed food. Her call sounded desperate and I hope we will be able to help her quickly."

Just like C many are only just managing to cope on low income, which means that when a crisis hits, or their car needs repairing, they're unable to afford it. Jenny went on to explain that many "people don't have a buffer". Earlier this year The Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report highlighted that a third of people in poverty have less than £250 in savings as a buffer. However, as a charity, we're seeing more working people with this minimal buffer, or no buffer at all to pay for essentials, or one-off needs when they arise.

Jenny finished her interview by talking about the work of Acts 435, and how we're continuing to see needs met. Jenny said: "we've always had to keep it in balance and we have relied on God to make sure that the needs are being met". During the pandemic, as we saw needs dramatically increase, we also saw our generous donors continuing to give. However, during the pandemic many supporters had disposable income because they weren't taking holidays or going out for meals, and we're now aware that many of our supporters will also be feeling the squeeze at this time, and we continue to rely on God's provision to be able to meet these ever increasing needs.

You can listen to Jenny talk to UCB Radio here.

The reality of the squeeze is just going to continue tightening, especially for those in work, on a low income.