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Government responses to the cost of living crisis are mainly long term and do not address the immediate and dire situations of those most in need (Boris Johnson for emphasizing that work is the solution to the cost of living crisis , May 22). Many have incomes below the tax threshold and therefore will not benefit from any reduction in income tax. The £150 council tax rebate and £200 loan will be welcome for some, but will have already been eaten up by recent energy bills.

An immediate and adequate increase in benefits could surely be at stake. If not, as is the case with many of this government’s initiatives, saving money now will certainly result in payments massive future costs needed to deal with unfortunate consequences, such as not having enough food, being able to clothe growing children, being threatened with eviction from rented property and defaulting on mortgage payments.

HMRC could surely provide information to identify the majority of these people. Many of them will receive Universal Credit or other benefits, which have been increased this year by far less than the rate of inflation. The need for upgrading is obvious. All of these issues require additional public spending. The old definition of wealth redistribution should be brought into play and could be partly corrected by a closer alignment between national insurance and income tax rates.

People with taxable income up to £50,000 pay 20% income tax and 13.25% NI. People earning more than this pay 40% income tax on income over £50,000, while NI is just 3.25%. How is that fair?
Jill Westby

I’m puzzled that people are suggesting increasing Universal Credit, but what’s not being reported is what will happen to those of us on legacy benefits who never had the increase during the pandemic. I am unable to work due to poor mental and physical health. I have no chance of re-entering the workforce, so income tax, NI changes, etc., are not helping me at all. The “warm homes” allowance will no longer be paid to me in the future, if I understand correctly, because I receive a personal independence allowance, so from 2023 I will no longer be eligible.

My gas and electricity are prepaid and so far this week my electricity has gone out three times; I’ve put down £30 so far and I’m on emergency credit again. I haven’t charged gas for weeks, so the next time I do, most of what I put in will be for ‘debt’ – aka permanent charge. Last time I filled up with £20 that left me with £4 for petrol and no emergency credit.

It would be interesting if you could report on what the government or think tanks are proposing to do to help people in my situation deal with the relentless price hikes that we cannot avoid.
Lisa J. Rafferty
Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire

The Government’s insistence that further changes to the Universal Credit cut are better than reinstating the £20 Universal Credit boost is further evidence that it willfully ignores there is a large group of people benefiting from universal credit who desperately need help but who can not work. I worked as a teacher for many years, but due to a brain injury I am unable to work at all. When will the government recognize that not everyone can earn more by working? They seem to be actively trying to perpetuate the myth that the only reason people don’t work is laziness.
Caroline Sutton
Glastonbury, Somerset

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