Experts have warned “lives will be lost” if benefits and wages do not increase in line with inflation this winter.

Governments across the world have been issued the warning by the UN’s poverty expert.

The most vulnerable are “paying the price” of world events, according to Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

Mr De Schutter will issue the warning on Monday at a Council of Europe event in Strasbourg, France.

The Northern Echo: PAPA (Image: PA)

He will say: “It is not hyperbole to say that unless governments increase benefits and wages in line with inflation, lives will be lost.

“Whether in Europe, where inflation has hit a record high of 10%, or sub-Saharan Africa where food prices have surged by nearly 24%, household budgets across the world are being stretched beyond breaking point, meaning even more people in poverty will starve or freeze this winter unless immediate action is taken to increase their income.”

Mr De Schutter will also say that the crises of the coronavirus pandemic and rising inflation are expected to cause an additional 75-95 million people to fall into poverty this year.

And he will urge Governments to insulate homes quickly ahead of winter in the northern hemisphere, saying: “Insulating people’s homes to keep them warm and safe is not rocket science, and failure to act in this area is simply down to a lack of political will.

“Not only will doing so reduce the energy bills of low-income households, it will also considerably reduce carbon emissions.”

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said: “The Secretary of State commences her statutory annual review of benefits and state pensions from late October using the most recent prices and earnings indices available.

“We are committed to looking after the most vulnerable which is why we’ve delivered at least £1,200 of support to families this winter while also saving households an average of £1,000 a year through our Energy Price Guarantee.

“This support is on top of the annual working-age benefits bill which is over £87 billion.”