Chancellor fails to stop benefit claimants facing second drop in income in under six months
Mind recently joined 58 other charities calling for an increase to benefits in line with inflation, in response to the cost of living crisis. Unfortunately in today’s Spring Statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer failed to announce such a rise. This follows on from the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit in October 2021. For many people relying on benefits, failing to increase the amount people receive in line with inflation will result in a second cut to their income in less than six months, forcing more people to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table.
Reacting to the announcements, Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“While the announcement today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the Household Support Fund will double to £1 billion is welcome, this measure falls far from the level of support that households struggling with the cost of living truly needed. With inflation at sky high levels, an eight per cent increase to benefit payments in line with the increases in the cost of living was the bare minimum the Chancellor needed to announce today. Without this increase we will see people already struggling, many with mental health issues, plunged into further financial distress by what amounts to the second cut to their household income in less than six months.
“We know that poverty and mental health form a vicious circle, with those in poverty more likely to have a mental health problem, and those with a mental health problem more vulnerable to the effects of poverty. Today’s lack of action will only worsen financial problems across the country, and in turn put a greater strain on the country’s already worsening mental health. Given the Chancellor also failed to announce any increase in funding for mental health services today, this begs the question of how they will address the inevitable uptick in demand for mental health services from increased financial distress. Unfortunately, the UK Government has offered little in the way of answers.”