Autumn Statement 2023: Auriga welcomes benefits uprating and National Living Wage rise
Auriga Services has welcomed changes to benefits, national insurance and local housing allowances – but has urged people to continue to access the wide ranging support available to them.
CEO Jill Wheeler said today’s Autumn Statement will ensure that “vulnerable people have slightly more in their pockets” but cautioned that new measures “would not eradicate historic debt” for all.
She stressed that a comprehensive package of support remains in place for those facing life’s challenges, including discounts on water bills, grants towards energy costs and funds for new furniture.
Jill said: “We welcome the government’s plans to increase benefits and support those people on lower incomes. Whether those increases have gone far enough is open to debate but when coupled with a decrease in inflation, they should begin to have a positive effect.
“We are especially pleased to see that the National Living Wage will apply to those aged 21 and above, which is a boost for young people. In our experience there is a significant number of people under the age of 25 who are experiencing issues such as debt, homelessness or leaving care.
“One of Auriga’s biggest strengths is in working in partnership with local authorities, charities and businesses to ensure that funding streams are available to some of the most vulnerable in society, many of whom don’t realise where they can find help. We strongly encourage organisations to maintain funding for those initiatives and we would like to reassure those people facing particular challenges that a comprehensive package of support will continue to be made available to them.”
The Autumn Statement 2023: a snapshot
The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced plans to raise the National Living Wage and increase benefits in line with inflation, as part of a raft of measures in today’s Autumn Statement.
Some of the key announcements include:
- The National Living Wage will increase to £11.44 – the equivalent of over £1,800 a year for full-time workers – directly benefiting around 2.7 million people according to The Department for Business and Trade. Increases will apply to those aged 21 years and above.
- Means-tested benefits such as Universal Credit will rise by 6.7% from next April due to cost-of-living pressures, while national insurance will be cut to 10% from 6 January 2024.
- Housing allowance within Universal Credit will be unfrozen from April 2024, giving people enough money to cover the bottom 30% of market rents in their area.
- Employee national insurance will be cut from 12% to 10% from 6 January.
- The government will stand by the state pension “triple lock”, which means that pensioners will receive an 8.5% increase from April 2024.