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Government announces benefits will not rise with inflation until April 2023

09 September 2022

Despite the double digit rise in inflation, the Government has rejected calls to urgently address the adequacy and uprating of social security benefits.

For many years, the annual increase in benefit levels has been based on the September Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate but not implemented until the April of the following year.

The April 2022 benefits rise, when inflation was already 9%, was based on the CPI rate from September 2021, which was 3.1%, causing a considerable real-terms fall in income.

In its July 2022, in its Cost of Living report, the Work and Pensions cross-party Committee of MPs recommended that the Government review the adequacy of benefit levels and publish its findings.

The review should include a specific review of the adequacy of disability benefits and should consider whether it is appropriate to continue to rely on discretionary funds and one-off payments.

However, in response to the Committee’s report, the Government said:

“‘There are no plans to change the up-rating period: using a consistent period for up-rating, for example, the 12 months to September to measure inflation means any peaks and troughs even out over time…

“The Government does not intend to conduct a specific review into the adequacy of benefit levels. There is no objective way of deciding what an adequate level of benefit should be as everyone has different requirements, and beneficiaries are free to spend their benefit as they see fit, in the light of their individual commitments, needs and preferences.

“Similarly extra costs disability benefits are intended to provide a broad contribution to additional costs faced by disabled people and individuals then have the choice and flexibility to prioritise according to their own needs.”

In addition, the Government also rejects the Work and Pensions Committee's calls for:

  • deductions from benefits to be paused and then only restored gradually as the rate of inflation reduces
  • an urgent review of the benefit cap

Dan White DR UK policy and Campaigns officer and one of the leads at the Disability Poverty Campaign Group said: “For the Government to reject the Work and Pensions Committee suggestions for a benefit uplift now is staggering.

The DPCG had called for an immediate benefit uplift and now this response. Benefits are far below the current rate of inflation, and this means the money received does not cover the basics that a human life needs to survive.

This announcement is breath-taking and will do no nothing to alleviate the entrenched suffering that Disabled people and carers are spiralling deeper into. For humanities sake this must be readdressed, and the Government have to realise that they are condemning millions of families and individuals to unnecessary destitution.”

The Cost of living: Work and Pensions Committee publishes Government response to report is available from parliament.uk.

Also available from parliament.uk are:

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