Conservatives in North Herts and Stevenage have welcomed the £300 cost-of-living payments that will soon be sent to more than 16,000 households across the Stevenage and Hitchin and Harpenden constituencies.

There is no need for households to apply for the payments, which will be sent automatically to those who are eligible.

It is the second in a series of three payments totalling up to £900, and will be paid to people who receive eligible means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, and tax credits.

The payments will be made to 10,500 households in Stevenage and to 5,900 households in Hitchin and Harpenden between October 31 and November 19.

Bim Afolami, the MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, said: “We must continue to do everything we can to support households across Hitchin, Harpenden and the villages with global inflation caused by Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine and the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The record levels of financial support over the past year and a half have already supported families across our communities, and this latest £300 Cost of Living Payment for 5,900 eligible households will make a huge difference to the most vulnerable and those on the lowest incomes this autumn.

Alex Clarkson, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Stevenage, also welcomed the payments, and added: “The Conservative government rightly remains committed to halving inflation, which is the best way to help everyone across Stevenage with the cost of living.”

Responding to this story, Kevin Bonavia, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Stevenage, said: "The Conservatives have some cheek expecting residents across our town and villages to be grateful for this one-off payment, which isn't anywhere near enough to cover the pain that our most vulnerable residents are going through.

The Comet: Kevin Bonavia is Labour's parliamentary candidate for Stevenage.Kevin Bonavia is Labour's parliamentary candidate for Stevenage. (Image: Kevin Bonavia)

"As for everyone else, there is nothing at all despite all of us being affected by big increases in our day-to-day cost of living.

"We are all still paying the price for the Conservatives crashing the economy with their disastrous mini-budget this time last year, leaving the UK with some of the highest inflation in Western economies and a hike in interest rates that has pushed up mortgages and rents across the board."

Lisa Nash, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Stevenage, said: "The Conservatives have badly mismanaged the economy including here in Hertfordshire.

The Comet: Lisa Nash is the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Stevenage.Lisa Nash is the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Stevenage. (Image: Stevenage Liberal Democrats)

"Hundreds of Stevenage families are struggling to pay bills for heating and for food and to keep up with their rent and mortgage payments.

"These so-called cost of living payments are a drop in the ocean. It is extremely naive for Conservative MPs and candidates to claim they are giving record financial support to low income households.

"They disingenuously  blame Putin’s illegal war against Ukraine, when we all know it has been the incompetent governments of Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak that have recklessly damaged the public finances, failing to deliver strong economic growth after the Covid pandemic and adding billions to the cost of servicing our debt through last autumn’s shambolic mini-budget, which was not backed by the Office for Budget Responsibility. 

"Their promises to 'level up' have proved hollow."