Bishop of Durham asks about adequacy of benefits in the current cost of living crisis

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answer on 21st December 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the current levels of benefits given the increased cost of living.

Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con): The government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and has taken further decisive action to support people with their energy bills. The government’s Energy Price Guarantee, running from October 2022- March 2023, will save a typical British household around £900 this winter, based on what energy price would have been under the current price cap – reducing bills by roughly a third. This is in addition to the over £37bn of cost-of-living support announced earlier this year which includes the £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

From 10 April 2023 we are uprating State Pension and benefit rates by 10.1%. In order to increase the number of households who can benefit from these uprating decisions the benefit cap will also be increased by 10.1%. These increases are subject to Parliamentary approval.

To ensure stability and certainty for households, the government is providing £26bn in cost-of-living support for 2023/24. This includes Cost of Living Payments for the most vulnerable. In 2023/24, households on eligible means-tested benefits will get up to a further £900 in Cost-of-Living Payments. A £300 payment will be made to pensioner households and individuals in receipt of eligible disability benefits will receive a £150 payment. Also included is the amended Energy Price Guarantee which will save the average UK household £500 in 2023-24.

For those who require extra support, the Government is providing an additional £1 billion of funding, including Barnett impact, to enable the extension of the Household Support Fund in England in the next financial year. This is on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing total funding to £2.5 billion. In England this will be delivered through an extension to the Household Support Fund backed by £842 million, running from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024, which local authorities use to help households with the cost of essentials. It will be for the devolved administrations to decide how to allocate their additional Barnett funding.


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