Amid a range of policy changes and new plans for tax and public spending, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will confirm next year’s rise in DWP welfare rates in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, although the exact upgrade figure remains uncertain.
Benefits are usually upgraded each April based on inflation statistics from the previous September.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate increased by 6.7 per cent in September, which would normally suggest that benefits would rise by the same figure in April 2024.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released a notice confirming that the new figures will be published on Wednesday.
The statement reads: “Preliminary notice of the publication of an ad hoc statistical release entitled ‘Benefit Upgrade – estimated number and type of households and individuals in households benefiting from the benefit upgrade in 2024 to 2025’ on November 22.”
How much could benefits increase next year?
If the typical formula is followed, benefits may increase in line with the September 2023 inflation rate of 6.7 per cent.
What benefits are included in the raise?
According to a Money Savings Expert (MSE), benefits that typically rise in line with inflation include:
However, after October’s sharp fall in inflation to 4.7 per cent, the Treasury may be considering using this figure for the annual upgrade instead, the Guardian reports.
Commenting on the announcement, former pensions minister Steve Webb speculated on X: “Benefit cuts alert – DWP issued notice of ‘ad hoc’ publication of benefit upgrades on Wednesday – in years they pay inflation , they don’t. do this. This appears to be their defensive document, which will justify using the latest inflation figure.” (sic)
In response to Mr Webb’s X post, a DWP spokesperson told Express.co.uk that a similar notice had been issued prior to last year’s statement, stressing that there had been no change in the way the alert was shared.
Last year, the Chancellor confirmed that benefits would rise in line with inflation – as usual – which gave claimants a 10.1 per cent rise in their payment rates earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Treasury Minister Gareth Davies has so far refused to guarantee that the September figure would be used.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain program last Wednesday: “I’m not going to speculate on what the Autumn Statement might or might not be. But I want to point out that we upgraded the benefits by a significant margin earlier this year.”
In a letter to the Chancellor, Disability Rights UK Chief Executive Kamran Mallick urged the Government to upgrade benefits in line with September’s rate of inflation, saying: “That would only exacerbate the current cost of living crisis facing disabled people to increase worse. When combined with the proposed changes to the work ability assessment, it could mean that disabled people will have their benefits significantly reduced.”
Meanwhile, Paul Carberry, chief executive at Action for Children, highlighted the challenges facing families with children amid high cost of living pressures. In a letter last month, Mr Carberry said: “Every day, our frontline workers are applying to our Crisis Fund for emergency grants to support low-income families in their care with basics such as food, clothing and expenses utilities.
“The Chancellor must act at the Autumn Statement to protect families with children from these severe and ongoing pressures on family finances.
“At the very least, we need to see benefits rise in line with inflation and amend the Living Cost Payments to take family size into account.”
Peter Matejic, JRF’s chief analyst, said that many families “live in a world where their income, in many cases, does not cover expenses, and the Government is talking about cutting their support further”.
He said in a post on X: “It is indefensible that the Government is considering reducing benefits for struggling families who are worried about their future, with news stories suggesting that it plans to cut today’s figures use, instead of last month’s figures, to hide and hide the figures. big cut
“In the upcoming Autumn Statement benefits must be increased in line with inflation and the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) must be unfrozen to support private renters with their housing costs. Jeremy Hunt should take steps to ensure that at least Universal Credit will always enable people to access essential resources.”
The Chancellor will announce the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, 22 November.
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