OPINION: How we can help customers with the cost-of-living crisis – James Lowman, chief executive, ACS

'Convenience stores are well placed to support local people looking to save and manage their money'

Cost of living crisis shopping bill finances inflation

Just before the start of the summer holidays, the government launched a new campaign aimed at showcasing some of the great work retailers are doing to support consumers during the cost-of-living crisis

The campaign, called Help for Households, focuses on four key periods of time in the remainder of 2022, namely the summer holidays, return to school, the energy price cap rise in October, and Christmas, where it is likely consumers will be feeling the squeeze on their incomes. 

ACS is pleased to support the campaign and attended the launch at 10 Downing Street with the prime minister. Some of the UK’s biggest retailers are committing to new deals and offers to support customers over the next few months, but the campaign isn’t just about new deals, it’s about highlighting the existing and ongoing support that businesses provide to households. 

Convenience stores are well placed to support local people looking to save and manage their money. While during the pandemic there were many customers getting a full weekly shop from their local convenience store, most will be shopping little and often. We’re also one of the last places where people can get access to cash, and we know that during difficult financial times, some people use cash instead of cards to manage their spending more effectively. 

Convenience stores are also ways for people to take advantage of government support schemes such as Healthy Start. The new pre-paid cards mean there are no vouchers to deal with, as eligible customers can use the card like they would a normal Mastercard. Healthy Start is a hugely underutilised and underpromoted scheme, so we hope it will be amplified as part of the Help for Households campaign. 

It’s important to remember that we have a responsibility to support our colleagues. There’s an opportunity to highlight resources that give colleagues the best information about how to manage their finances effectively and responsibly. 

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