Five things Rishi Sunak could do to help Britons amid ‘April Cruel Day’ billing crunch

Families will be impacted by a 54% increase in energy bills starting today. With social security payments, council taxes, and inflation rising, many could be suffering from spiraling debt and physical and mental health problems

Rishi Sunak carries bags as he leaves Downing Street
Rishi Sunak carries bags as he leaves Downing Street

Millions of families already battered by the cost-of-living crisis face an even bleaker future thanks to a series of price hikes starting today.

And activists warn the gruesome surges could crush low-income households as they demanded Rishi Sunak call in an emergency budget to deal with the agony.

There are fears that 400,000 children lifted out of poverty thanks to the £20 increase in Universal Credit could be plunged straight back into it unless the Chancellor acts now.

Families will be hit by a 54% increase in energy bills starting today, and with rising Social Security payments, council taxes and inflation, many could be plagued by spiraling debt and physical and mental health problems.

Elderly woman trying to keep warm by warming hands on radiator in winter


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Citizens Advice warned that around five million people will be unable to pay their gas or electricity bills from this month. And the Resolution Foundation has calculated that the cost-of-living crisis will plunge 1.3 million households into absolute poverty.

Mr Sunak’s mini-budget was branded last week as “lamentably inadequate” as it did little to ease the mounting financial burden on families.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “People shouldn’t be struggling to cover the basics. But millions of families have been stretched to the limit by rising bills and rising inflation.

“We need an emergency budget to cut energy bills and increase wages, Universal Credit and pensions.”

Adam Scorer, executive director of National Energy Action, the energy poverty charity, added: “This is the biggest energy price shock in living memory. Millions of people are deprived of adequate amounts of heating and electricity.

Millions of people are facing a livelihood crisis


(Getty Images)

“Many people on the lowest incomes are being crushed. The quality of life of millions of people will decrease.

“The debt will go into a spiral. Physical and mental health will suffer.”

Katie Schmuecker of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: “For people on the lowest incomes, the next few months could be really disastrous.”

Figures show 3.9million children were living in deprivation in 2021 and the number could skyrocket after No 10 cut Universal Credit by £20.

Alison Garnham of the Child Poverty Action Group said: “Many of the children lifted out of poverty by UC’s £20 raise have already been pushed back over the brink by government action.

“And as millions grapple with rising costs, the picture will deteriorate.”

Shadow Chancellor of the Treasury Rachel Reeves


AFP via Getty Images)

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves has again urged millionaire Sunak to impose a windfall tax on mega-rich energy companies to lower household bills.

Research has shown that many households were already at “breaking point” even before this new wave of price hikes started

Energy bills will rise at least 10 times faster than wages this year, rising by an average of £693 a year to £1,971.

Prepaid meter customers get an annual increase of £708 to £2,017. Water bills, TV subscriptions, phone bills and even premium postage stamp prices are also increasing this month.

Gas bills are also increasing


AFP via Getty Images)

Parking fees for NHS workers are being levied again today after being scrapped in the fight against the pandemic.

And while benefits are only expected to increase by 3.1%, that’s half the current inflation rate of 6.2% – which is itself likely to rise to 8%.

New polls by Ipsos found Mr Sunak’s mini-budget did little to ease concerns about the rising cost of living.

No10 said: “We are taking action worth over £22billion over the next financial year to help people with the cost of their energy bills and to ensure people keep more of their money.”

Our team of cost of living experts are here to help YOU through a very difficult year.

They bring you the latest money news and also offer expert advice.

Whether it’s skyrocketing utility bills, the cost of weekly groceries, or increased taxes, our team is always by your side.

Every Thursday at 13:00 they participate in a Facebook Live event to answer your questions and offer their advice. Visit to watch. You can read more about our team of experts here.

If you have a question – or want to share your story – please email

Here are five ways Chancellor Rishi Sunak could help with living expenses:

1 Stop the April 6 increase in Social Security contributions and replace it with a fairer tax that hits the very rich, not the young and low-income.

2 Impose a windfall tax on the oil and gas giants to fund a discount on people’s energy bills.

3 Immediately increase the national minimum wage to £10 an hour to help people facing soaring food and fuel bills.

4 Increase pensions in line with inflation to help the two million pensioners living in poverty.

5 Reverse the £20 cut in Universal Credit to prevent more families, including hundreds of thousands of children, from falling into poverty.

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