It was good to see so many local communities come together to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee and pay tribute to the remarkable life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, whose dedicated service has been inspiring through so many decades.
These continue to be challenging times for many people in and around Macclesfield, and across the country. Inflationary pressures from shocks to global supply chains following the pandemic have been amplified by the tragic war in Ukraine. This has led to real cost of living pressures, particularly relating to rising energy prices.
The Chancellor's recent £15 billion package of cost of living support measures is a positive step forward, providing targeted help for vulnerable households who need it most. Over 8 million households who are on means-tested benefits will receive a one-off payment of £650, paid out over two instalments. Around 8 million pensioner households receiving Winter Fuel Payments will benefit from an additional £300 payment in November/December, while nearly 6 million people who receive disability benefits will get an extra £150 payment.
As a Minister at the Department for Work and Pensions, I have been working to help shape this package and will continue to support its delivery over the months ahead. At a time of high vacancy levels, there are also employment opportunities available, with our local Job Centres providing invaluable advice and support to help people get into and progress in work.
In meetings over recent weeks with several community groups, including: Citizens Advice, Disability Information Bureau, East Cheshire Eye Society and My CWA, I have continued to be inspired by the range of support available in our communities. The experience and advice offered by such organisations will also provide invaluable support for many people, as we work together to get through the difficult months ahead.