SHOCK new figures obtained by the Chronicle have revealed almost 50,000 in-need Barnsley families will be given a cash bailout before the summer’s end due to the cost-of-living crisis.
According to the Department for Work and Pensions, Barnsley East and Wentworth and Dearne constituencies have been shown to be the worst-affected, with about 15,000 in each receiving £650.
An estimated 10,000 Barnsley Central families will be paid a summer payment of £326 and £324 in the autumn, as well as approximately 6,000 in Penistone and Stocksbridge.
The payments - for families receiving means-tested benefits including Universal Credit, jobseeker’s allowance, or child tax credits - come amid criticism from charities that the government is not doing enough to tackle the soaring cost of basic goods and fuel.
Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance charity, said: “We can’t allow any delays to cost of living support packages.
“People want a society where we have compassion for each other, founded on a shared belief in justice.
“We need a government that’s committed to putting those ideals into urgent action to help the growing number of people facing hardship and struggling to get by.”
Amid soaring energy bills and costs of fuel, 26,209 people have turned to Universal Credit for support - the highest number since October’s 26,262, according to the new Department for Work and Pensions figures.
The trend has been branded ‘deeply concerning’ by Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis.
“This is the devastating reality of the cost-of-living crisis and a damning indictment of the government’s complete inability to help people live with decency and dignity.
“The stark reality is that the less disposable income people have in their pockets, the less able they are to support local businesses which in turn creates a vicious cycle of economic downturn.”
Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, charities have seen a dramatic increase in the number of emergency food parcels handed out to those in need.
Figures from The Trussell Trust show 7,265 emergency food parcels were handed out to people in Barnsley in the year to March at locations in the town centre, Athersley, Darfield, Goldthorpe, Penistone, Royston, Great Houghton, Grimethorpe, Birdwell, Worsbrough and Staincross.
This was an increase from 6,465 emergency food parcels distributed in the year to March 2021, and was up 60 per cent on the 4,536 provided in the year to March 2020, before the onset of the pandemic.
“Food, fuel, energy and travel costs all spiralling out of control.
“Compared to the national average, we have more people struggling to heat their homes, more businesses that are energy intensive, and more people not in the workforce,” Dan added.
“We’re witnessing the biggest fall in living standards since records began.”