A south London man on full benefits due to a mobility issue says he is already stocking up on food for the winter after not yet receiving his £150 council tax rebate . Mark Parker, 56, who lives in Lambeth, says he is ‘always worried’ about the growing cost of living crisis and angry at his council’s slowness to issue reimbursement to residents who he says , “need the money the most”. .”
Mark, who is on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) due to a mobility issue that kept him out of work for over a year, told MyLondon he was so worried about the rise the price of fuel that he had already started stocking up on non-perishable food for the winter. He fears that he will soon have to choose between ” turn on the lights or buy a meal.”
” When I go to the supermarket now, everything has gone up,” Mark said. ” My The other day the LIDL store was much more than I expected, much more than before. I was really, really surprised.”
Mark said he was terrified that government provisions such as the £150 rebate would not be enough when winter arrives. He fears finding himself too short of money to afford fuel, and this is not the first time. ” I don’t want to go back to this place where I have to choose between staying warm or eating something,” Mark said.
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“It’s going to get worse, I know that,” he said, adding, ” I can pretty much afford to buy my shop, but I’m already thinking about making cuts so I have enough savings and food for the winter. Mark said he’s cut out all the luxuries and is already stocking his closet with a few extra items every time he goes grocery shopping, to prepare for winter.
“It’s like going back to how it was during the war,” Mark said. “I feel anxious about it all the time,” he added, “I have trouble sleeping, because I know it’s going to happen. I’m really, really anxious because I don’t know how to how good it’s going to be or how much help they’re going to give us.”
Mark said he was particularly concerned as he had yet to receive his £150 council tax refund, which he had been relying on to ease the financial pressure of the past two months. He said thousands of other residents who pay council tax in full have already received their refunds by direct debit. of Lambeth Council, while those with full support are still waiting.
In February, the UK government announced it would make a one-off payment of £150 to council tax payers in tax brackets A to D, intended to provide ‘immediate relief’ from the rise energy bills. Payments would also be made to occupants of these properties who are exempt from council tax, such as Mark.
Councils have been advised by the government to pay refunds “as soon as possible from April”, although they have until September 30 to pay them. Mark said he has now been told he will receive a letter sometime in June with a barcode which he can take to his post office to receive his £150 cash, but he is angry for not getting the money faster, and by direct debit like other Lambeth residents.
“I just don’t think they recognized it was affecting those most affected,” said Mark, who claims he heard nothing of his reimbursement from Lambeth Council until last Friday (June 10), despite repeated attempts to contact them to ask about it. He added :“I just don’t know if I’m going to get it in time to pay my bills, if I’m going to be in arrears or not.I do not trust [the council] anymore, I can’t count on them anymore.
MyLondon has contacted Lambeth Council for comment.
Do you live in London and battle the cost of living crisis like Mark? Contact me by email at [email protected]
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