The Autumn Statement: our reflections
The Autumn Statement was announced yesterday, bringing news that benefits will be uprated in line with inflation in April 2023.
- This article is 15 months old
We welcome the uprating of benefits.
Turn2us has repeatedly called for benefits to be uprated, so the news that this will happen in April 2023 is welcome. Households who receive benefits have been left to grapple with the highest inflation rates in decades with no support. When benefits are uprated in April, this will no doubt bring some relief.
However, April 2023 is not soon enough.
We know that households across the country are at their breaking point, having struggled for months. Many have already been forced into impossible choices between paying for food, rent or energy. There is no room for any more compromise.
We are relieved that the government has recognised the need to uprate benefits – but we need this to happen urgently. There are 14.5 million people living below the poverty line. Five months is simply too long to wait for support.
“The uprating of benefits feels like a sticking plaster on a leak that’s been left too long”, says Gary, who has lived experience of financial insecurity, and who has been supported by Turn2us. “People on the lowest incomes and relying on benefits are still going to struggle this winter before we receive extra support.”
Benefits are not an ‘expensive commitment’ - they are a basic right.
When announcing that benefits would be uprated, the Chancellor described the decision as an ‘expensive commitment’. As a charity committed to removing the stigma around receiving financial help, we challenge this view.
“The narrative around benefits needs to change”, says Matt, who has felt the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. “I’m a teacher in full time work currently claiming universal credit. People from all walks of life are now finding themselves in a position where they need financial support. It’s not right.”
Benefits should not be framed as unusually ‘expensive’; they are a vital means of providing dignity and financial security.
Uprating benefits is a short-term fix. We now need long-term change.
Turn2us will continue to offer support targeted to households most impacted by this statement. But ultimately, charities alone cannot stretch to support everyone who needs it. As we approach the next two years – now with predictions from the OBR that living standards will fall by 7% within that time – the government must reform social infrastructure to safeguard people before they reach financial insecurity.