John Healey says cost of living is a bigger worry than Covid for many people, as they head back to work and school this week.


Families across the borough find their finances are stretched by the cost of a children’s lunchbox which is up by an estimated 11%.


The MP compared the supermarket cost of items recommended for packed lunches – such as juice drinks, fruit, cheese and cake slices – with the price of the same items last year.


Among the biggest price rises are apples which have gone up 23%, sliced cheese 14% and fruit bars 13%. The analysis shows a £60 increase in the cost of lunch boxes for two children over the school year.


The increase in families’ food bills comes alongside energy price rises and the Conservatives’ cut to Universal Credit which has left 6 million families £20 a week worse off, including 10,170 families – a quarter of all working age families – in the Wentworth & Dearne constituency.


Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey said: “It’s a tough New Year for families who are seeing the costs of living rising and their household budgets stretched.


“People are being hit in the pocket by problems created in Downing Street. Instead of helping families get by Ministers are making matters worse by taking away the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit and taking more in unfair tax hikes”


Analysis published by the Labour Party also shows that over half of working families had fewer than £3,000 in household savings going into the pandemic.


Labour’s analysis shows that in total, nearly 27 million people who live in working households had either no savings, savings under £1,500 or savings under £3,000 in 2020. Over 6 million adults in working households have no savings at all.


John added: “Working families shouldn’t be forced to pay the price for Boris Johnson’s economic failure.


“Unlike the Conservatives, Labour would help ease the burden by scrapping VAT on household heating bills over winter and we wouldn’t hit working people with a National Insurance tax hike.”