An overwhelming majority of Cynon Valley residents are facing financial struggles, an MP's report suggests, as the cost of living crisis escalates.

Research conducted by the office of Labour MP Beth Winter found that a third of local residents reported skipping meals over the past year to keep costs down, with the figure rising to 61 percent for benefit claimants.

81 percent of those in work - and more than 90 percent of those on benefits - said their financial situation was impacting on their mental health.

Winter reports that one survey respondent told her: "Life genuinely doesn't feel worth living any more.

"I feel guilty for bringing my children into this awful mess of a world."

It comes after energy regulator Ofgem predicted a further energy price cap increase of £830 in October, taking the cap to £2,800.

Meanwhile, oil company Shell recorded its highest ever quarterly profits earlier this month, leading to renewed calls for a Windfall Tax.

The fuel giant made £7.3billion in the first three months of 2022, nearly triple the £3.1bn it made during the same period last year.

A new Government cost-of-living plan is reportedly due to be unveiled on Thursday, with some speculating that the move is an attempt to distract from the Sue Gray report, which is to be published in full on Wednesday.

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Calling the UK Government's response to the cost of living crisis "class war", Beth Winter has called for measures including a Universal Credit increase, nationalising energy companies, and the introduction of a Wealth Tax.

The MP said she conducted a survey of constituency residents over two weeks, with 659 people responding either online or by completing paper questionnaires.

Respondents were allowed to remain anonymous, and could add additional comments outside of the standard questions.

Well over half - 88 percent for benefit recipients - said they had struggled to pay their gas and electricity bills over the past year, with other significant cost pressures including water (31 percent) council tax (36 percent) and rent/mortgage (25 percent), along with food, school supplies and pet food.

Three-quarters of respondents had cut down on heating in an attempt to save money, and around half had borrowed money.

36 percent had skipped meals to cut costs, rising to 61 percent for benefit recipients.

One in ten respondents said they'd used a foodbank.

"It is affecting my sleep," one person is quoted as saying.

"I am worrying constantly. I keep watching my gas and electric meter."

Another quote reads: "Being disabled, having the heating on is imperative when it's chilly… I tend to stay in one room which I heat, but layer up to go to the toilet or kitchen.

"I have no idea what I'm going to do next winter, something has to give."

"I genuinely feel very overwhelmed and scared about our finances," another says.

The situation for pensioners was slightly different, with 11 percent reporting having had to borrow money, and 19 percent having skipped meals, and less than one percent having used a food bank.

Asked for what they'd propose as solutions, respondents suggested measures including benefit increases, a Windfall Tax, funding for home insulation and solar panels, pay rises and public ownership of energy companies.

Ms Winter, who called her findings "heart-breaking", has announced a "Demand Better" rally to be held in Aberdare on 2nd July.

A Government spokesperson said: “We understand that people are struggling with rising prices, and while we can’t shield everyone from the global challenges we face, we’re supporting British families to navigate the months ahead with a £22 billion package of support.

“That includes saving the typical employee over £330 a year through a tax cut in July, allowing people on Universal Credit to keep more of the money they earn – benefiting over a million families by around £1,000 a year, and providing millions of households with up to £350 each to help with rising energy bills.

“The Chancellor has been clear that as the situation evolves, our response will evolve – and we stand ready to do more.”

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