Essential goods and services are failing to reach the most needy
people, according to research by the National Consumer Council.
Ethnic minority groups, people living in deprived areas and
those with young children on low incomes are likely to be at a
disadvantage when trying to access services such as water and
The study, Everyday Essentials, recommends that social
exclusion and neighbourhood renewal units should do more to ensure
that anti-poverty policies take into account the role of private
The month-long project, which studied people living in urban and
rural areas, showed that the lives of many disadvantaged people
were taken up with relentless daily struggles to avoid running into
It also found that they lacked the confidence to behave as
It recommends that central and local government, with private and
public sector providers, need to ensure that essential goods and
services cater for the diversity of consumer needs.
It also proposes the setting up of local centres for publicly and
privately provided services to enable face-to-face transaction.
This would benefit those with basic numeracy and literacy skills
who also have problems accessing services.
The National Consumer Council will use the findings to lobby key
policy makers and providers and cite case studies that examine how
services are provided in health care, utilities and financial
– Everyday Essentials: Meeting Basic Needs from www.ncc.org.uk/pubs/pdf/essentialsfindings.pdf