Struggling residents in Coldhurst are ‘holding down several jobs’ as families bear the brunt of the deepening cost-of-living crisis.

Labour councillor Ruji Surjan, who represents the Oldham ward, has heard ‘multiple stories’ of residents juggling jobs in a bid to stay afloat amid rising costs and has called on the Government to ‘take urgent action’ before the situation worsens.

It comes as prices of food, energy and fuel continue to climb at their fastest rate for 40 years with the rate of inflation rising again in May, reaching its highest level since early 1982 according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The rate of consumer prices index (CPI) inflation rose from nine per cent in April to 9.1 per cent in May, the statisticians said, with food price increases, particularly for bread, cereal and meat, proving a big factor in the rise.

In a call for government support, Cllr Surjan said: “The current cost-of-living crisis is the worst in living memory for many of our residents.

“We are all feeling the brunt end of these difficult times, with increases not only to our energy bills, but in our visits to the petrol station and the supermarket, amongst other things.

“In my ward of Coldhurst we already have large areas of deprivation and poverty, meaning this current situation is felt even harder by those households on low income.

“We’ve heard of multiple stories from local residents who hold down several jobs to provide for their families, but they are still struggling, and this cannot continue.

“That is why urgent action is needed from the government to intervene and arrest this crisis before this situation gets even worse.”

Data uncovered in the Poverty Monitor report published last month revealed that in Coldhurst 64 per cent of children- almost two in three - live below the breadline.

However, councillors fear the figures, which pre-date the rise in inflation and cost-of-living crisis, only scratch the surface.

Fellow Coldhurst councillor and deputy council leader, Cllr Abdul Jabbar has said the council is supporting residents through the We Can Help campaign which includes advice on how to reduce energy costs as part of the Warm Homes project, support on access to welfare and debt advice, and information on how to access free school meals and how to apply for a council tax reduction.

He added: “We are a strong community in Coldhurst and we will always do everything we can to look after those around us, with local groups such as the Millennium Centre being a prime example of this with their local support towards the HAF programme.”

Cllr Jabbar is however calling on the Government to offer all families on Universal Credit free school meals.

In response to calls to extend free school meals, a government spokesperson said: "We recognise that millions of households across the UK are struggling to make their incomes stretch to cover the rising cost of living, which is why, in addition to the over £22bn announced previously, we are providing over £15 billion in further support, targeted particularly on those with the greatest need.

“We have also expanded access to free school meals more than any other government in recent decades, currently reaching over 1.7m eligible children.

“The Holiday Activities and Food programme runs during major school holidays, and wider welfare support is available through the Household Support Fund, which helps vulnerable families in need with essentials, such as food and utility bills.”