United call for benefits to increase by 6% from April 2022 due to cost of living crisis

Wed,9 February 2022

The Disability Benefits Consortium, of which DR UK is a member, and over 30 other  organisations - including the Child Poverty Action Group, The Trussell Trust, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – has published a joint letter calling on the Government to increase benefits by 6% in line with current inflation, instead of the 3.1% planned.

DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser Ken Butler said: “It’s vital that benefit levels do not fall behind inflation during a cost of living crisis.

“Disabled people are hit hardest by the cost of living crisis. A recent Channel 4 news item highlighted forthcoming Scope research that found we are twice as likely to have a cold home and three times as likely to find it hard to pay for food than non-disabled people.

Nearly half of everyone in poverty is either a Disabled person or lives with a Disabled person. Benefits paid to Disabled people are already too low and need to be increased above inflation.”

The joint letter to Government says: “Prices are rising at the fastest rate in 30 years, and energy bills alone are expected to rise by 50% in April. We are all feeling the pinch but the soaring costs of essentials will hurt low income families, whose budgets are already at breaking point, most.

“There has long been a profound mismatch between what those with a low income have, and what they need to get by. Policies such as the benefit cap and benefit freeze have left many struggling. Families are still reeling from the £20 cut to Universal Credit last October. And, though benefits will increase by 3.1% in April, inflation is projected to be 6% by then. This means yet another real terms cut to incomes.

“The Government must respond to the scale of the challenge. Immediate targeted protection to prevent serious hardship is essential, but short-term support will not be enough in the face of ongoing inflation.

“The Government should increase benefits by 6% in April and ensure support for housing costs increases in line with rents. All those struggling, including families affected by the benefit cap, must feel the impact.

“Much more is needed for levels of support to reflect what people need to get by. But, in taking these first steps, the Government will prevent the gap from getting wider and lay the foundation to further strengthen our social security system that protects us from poverty.

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group

Graeme Cooke, Director of Evidence and Policy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Emma Revie, Chief Executive, The Trussell Trust

Imran Hussain, Director of Policy & Campaigns, Action for Children

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK

Sarb Bajwa, Chief Executive, British Psychological Society

Joseph Howes, CEO, Buttle UK

Leigh Elliott, CEO, Children North East

Laurence Guinness, Chief Executive, The Childhood Trust

Paula Stringer, CEO, Christians Against Poverty (CAP)

Niall Cooper, Director, Church Action on Poverty

James Plunkett, Executive Director of Advice & Advocacy, Citizens Advice

Derek Mitchell, Chief Executive, Citizens Advice Scotland

Dr Ruth Patrick, Principal Investigator, Covid Realities research programme

The Disability Benefits Consortium

Anna Feuchtwang, Chair, End Child Poverty Coalition

Victoria Benson, CEO, Gingerbread

Graham Whitham, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Manchester Poverty Action

Sabine Goodwin, Coordinator, Independent Food Aid Network

Jess McQuail, Director, Just Fair

Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations, Mind

Nick Moberly, CEO, MS Society

Jane Streather, Chair, North East Child Poverty Commission

Satwat Rehman, CEO, One Parent Families Scotland

Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Chief Executive, Oxfam GB

Peter Kelly, Director, The Poverty Alliance

Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact, Save the Children UK

James Taylor, Executive Director of Strategy, Impact & Social Change, Scope

Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive, Turn2us

Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director, The Women’s Budget Group

Katherine Hill, Strategic Project Manager, 4in10 London’s Child Poverty Network

The joint letter is also available from cpag.org.uk.