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11,000 Islanders To Receive Cost Of Living Subsidy

More than 11,000 islanders struggling with the cost of living are now eligible for extra financial support from Jersey's government.

The Social Security Minister, Deputy Judy Martin, has introduced a new temporary scheme where islanders can claim an extra £20/month to cover heating bills, healthcare, or other costs.

Children are also eligible for the cost-of-living subsidy, meaning a family of four could claim an extra £80/month.

The scheme is due to run between April and December this year - costing around £2 million.

Deputy Martin says it's important that extra support is brought in where it's needed most:

“It has already been agreed that there will be an increase in Income Support Components of 2.6% in October but in addition to that, I have acted quickly to develop and implement a new support scheme for those who most need help today.

I believe that this scheme will make a real difference, now, to low income and just about managing families who are struggling with the cost of their weekly shop. I also realise that inflation pressures will be with us for a while and affect everyone."

She says the government is still looking into other ways of offering financial support to islanders, but they won't be introduced until after June's general election.

Since the scheme was announced, Jersey Electricity revealed its charges will be going up by 5% from 1 July 2022 followed by a further 5% rise from 1 January 2023.

The President of the Jersey Consumer Council has warned that the government support doesn't go far enough to support the majority of islanders.

The group recently called on Jersey's government to introduce some short-term measures to ease the cost-of-living pressures facing islanders - including a temporary cut on fuel duty, £100 credit towards energy bills and free bus travel or parking on Saturdays.

They were all rejected by the Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré.

Carl Walker has told Channel 103 more needs to be done to help those 'in the middle' who are feeling the pinch:

"The advice that the government is receiving is that it needs to target its help to those people it is already helping. 

The Consumer Council is arguing that there's a huge amount of people in the middle - between those people already receiving help and the very wealthy - who are really struggling and are on the breadline. Those are the people that really need help at the moment.

The amount of money the government has pledged to those already receiving benefits isn't really going to touch the sides. It works out at around £4.62/week. We've seen £1 of that wiped out with electricity going up in July, plus another £1 come January when prices go up again. That's before we've even seen the impact of the invasion of Ukraine on our food prices which unfortunately look likely to go up again this summer."

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