Turn2us, a national charity that helps people in financial hardship, has welcomed several of the proposed changes to welfare benefits announced in today’s Autumn Statement, in particular the declaration that there will be no further welfare savings beyond those announced in this parliament.
The charity also said that raising personal tax-free allowance to £12,500, and the higher rate threshold to £50,000, by the end of this Parliament, raising the national living wage from £7.20 to £7.50 in April next year and the reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from April 65% to 63%, will help many households that are currently managing financially but vulnerable to an unexpected change in circumstance.
However, it is raising concerns about the future impact of the announcement of a welfare spending cap set by government and monitored by the Office of Budget Responsibility as part of fiscal rule 3.
Commenting on the Autumn Statement, that was delivered today by Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, Simon Hopkins, Chief Executive of Turn2us, said:
“Several of the measures such as raising the personal tax-free allowance and the national living wage will help families that are struggling financially, and those that are living in poverty. That difference may be small, but it could mean the difference between a family being able to save or not, being able to deal with an income shock such as a new baby or illness, or it forcing them into debt to make ends meet.
“However, the announcement of the welfare cap, which is a significant strategic measure, is very concerning. If triggered, it will have a profound impact on the lives of many people in the UK. This leaves the most economically vulnerable with huge uncertainty.
“It is therefore, not only imperative that they are quickly informed of the financial support that is available to them to help them deal with this uncertainty, but if the cap is triggered, clarity as to how the cuts will be applied. This is particularly important as it comes on top of the inevitable economic uncertainty as we clarify our relationship with the rest of the European Union.“
If you are struggling financially you can use our free Benefits Calculator to make sure you’re claiming your full entitlements. Even if you’ve checked in the past, it’s worth doing so again, especially if you’ve seen a recent change in circumstances.
You can also check if you are eligible for a charitable grant or other support by using our Grants Search.
If you are worried about any of the benefit changes and would like further advice on your particular situation, you can use our Find an Adviser tool to locate face-to-face advice in your local area.