Cost of living is pushing more to breaking point

From: Rob Tolan, head of policy and research, Elizabeth Finn Care, Shepherds Bush Road, London.

As a national charity which helps people in financial need, news of mammoth price hikes from the rail networks is worrying to say the least (Yorkshire Post, August 17).

At Elizabeth Finn Care, we see first-hand how the most vulnerable members of society are being pushed to breaking point by ongoing rises in the cost of living.

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Around three-quarters of people who approach us for help can’t afford to take public transport to visit their family or friends, and a rise in fares will inevitably mean even are mired in isolation.

In this self-proclaimed affluent society, we would expect the cost of living to be affordable to all, but instead people are being stung by ballooning food costs, as petrol prices rocket and incomes are dented by freezes in child benefit, reductions in tax credits, lower wages and job losses.

The odds are being stacked more and more heavily against living comfortably, and those with limited incomes, or who have additional needs dues to ill-health or disability, are being hit hardest. These double-figure price rises from Britain’s rail companies are just the latest burden piled upon those already living worryingly close to the edge. To those who are struggling – you can visit our free website to carry out a benefits check in confidence to find out what welfare benefits you may be entitled to and whether there are charitable grants which you are eligible for.