National poverty charity Turn2us responds to the Spring Statement
Michael Clarke, Head of Information Programmes at Turn2us says:
“Today’s Spring Statement falls far short of delivering measures that keep people on the lowest incomes afloat during this unprecedented cost of living crisis. While the Chancellor’s announcement will cushion the financial blow for many, it does not go far enough in protecting people from a living standards catastrophe.
“We welcome the additional £500m investment into the Household Support Fund, which allows local councils to provide short-term, crisis funding. The increased threshold for National Insurance contributions will also help many low-income working families bridge the financial gap. But when paired with rising inflation, soaring energy bills and increasing living costs, these measures mean those of us unable to work due to ill-health, or with children, are left behind.
“Millions of people will face a real-terms benefits cut come April, and we are disappointed the Chancellor did not use this opportunity to uprate benefits in line with inflation to mitigate this. We’re already hearing how many household budgets simply can’t stretch anymore. We must not underestimate the scale of the crisis we are facing, especially as the next 12 months will result in thousands of people facing impossible choices between keeping a roof over their heads or feeding their children to survive.”
Gary, who has lived experience of financial insecurity, and has been supported by Turn2us, said: “I had to give up work to become a carer for my wife after she became disabled following surgery to remove a spinal cord tumour. The only income we receive now is from the Government but it’s not enough to live on, especially with rising costs of living. Today’s Spring Statement has left me feeling deflated. They didn’t mention anything about people who are unable to work due to caring responsibilities or ill-health. I was hoping that the statement would at least give people a light at the end of the tunnel in them uprating benefits in line with inflation but there was nothing. I feel forgotten about.”
Claire was working in the travel industry for around 20 years but during the pandemic, she was made redundant and now juggles working part-time with being a carer for her two disabled children. She added: “I’m a very low earner because I care for my two disabled boys but I previously used to have a good full-time job which I can’t do now. I have to count every pound I have after the Universal Credit uplift was taken away but now benefits won’t increase in line with inflation is a massive knock. The fuel tax cut will help to an extent but there’s just not enough help out there for people who are struggling. I didn’t think the Spring Statement would work miracles but I expected the benefits system to be made into the safety net you can fall back on to afford the essentials.”