Concerns over 'negative income' and fuel poverty as cost of living crisis bites in South Tyneside

Concerns have been raised over fuel poverty and price rises leading to residents in parts of South Tyneside having “negative disposable income”.

By Nic Marko
Saturday, 4th June 2022, 7:05 pm
Concerns have been raised for the plight of many residents in South Tyneside.
Concerns have been raised for the plight of many residents in South Tyneside.

The issue of the cost of living crisis and rising bills was discussed by councillors as a cause for concern at the latest meeting of Jarrow and Boldon Community Area Forum (CAF).

Soaring inflation is hitting communities hard across the globe, and concerns have been raised over people from the poorest households struggling to make ends meet.

Cllr Audrey Huntley, Fellgate and Hedworth ward representative, raised the issue with South Tyneside Homes chiefs, adding it is crucial support is on offer to residents.

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She said: “Everyone here will have residents who contact them being in fuel poverty, and we know as we head into the autumn and winter prices are going to rocket.

“I’m really concerned that increases will push people who are just about managing over the line.”

John Robertshaw, area manager at South Tyneside Homes, the arms-length management organisation created to oversee council properties in the area, acknowledged fuel poverty and increasing bill costs is an issue they must continue to look into.

He said: “It has been raised certainly at a much more senior level than myself that we are going to be seeing people, well we’re already seeing people, who are in effectively negative income.

“Once all their outgoings have gone, they’ve actually got a negative disposable income.

“That is something that we are looking at what partnerships and measures we can put in place to support as far as that goes.”

Cllr Stephen Dean, Bede ward representative, also warned how all properties must be adequately insulated, especially bungalows and those inhabited by elderly residents.

He said: “There’s old people there, they’re worried like anything that their bills are going to be going up.

“I think it’s really imperative that this gets on the work programme as soon as possible.”

Mr Robertshaw added it was an issue he would feed back to the major works team at South Tyneside Homes.

The concerns were all raised at the latest meeting of the CAF at Jarrow Town Hall.