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Over 100 community leaders write open letter calling for ‘urgent action’ on cost of living crisis

More than 100 charity leaders, community activists and academics across Northern Ireland have issued a joint call for urgent action to tackle the cost of living crisis.

he letter, which was released on Thursday, calls for the immediate formation of a new Stormont executive.

He has been signed by groups such as Extern NI, Action Mental Health, Parenting NI and Survivors of Suicide.

“Local households of all shapes and sizes are being hit by the spiraling cost of living,” they wrote.

“Energy bills have risen by hundreds of pounds a year, record levels of inflation are
making basic necessities like food and fuel unaffordable, and neither salaries nor social security
support have increased enough to cushion the blow.

“The crippling cost of living is pushing Northern Irish people to make increasingly desperate decisions to survive week after week.”

Representatives say they are aware of “heartbreaking stories” of people having to skip meals and turn off their heating to survive rising costs.

Their letter also includes references to people “making their own sanitary products because they just can’t afford to go any other way.”

Maghera Cross Community Link chairperson Ruth Watterson – an organization that provides community resources and a food bank to the area – told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster on Thursday morning that people visit their group “because they don’t know not what to do”.

“We have people helping us with our running costs, but our electricity has more than doubled,” she said.

“We have people who come to the food bank and they don’t know what to do, it’s either food or heating, they just can’t afford to do both. Instead of asking for food , they ask us for help with oil and stuff like that.”

Ms Watterson said the additional £100 payment for heating oil, which will be given to households in the UK who are unable to receive help with their heating costs through the Energy Price Guarantee , was “not enough”.

“Most places here won’t even deliver (oil) unless you order over £200, so that’s £100 where people are struggling. How long will the equivalent of £200 of fuel oil last? »