Uprate Benefits by Inflation: Otherwise the poorest will get poorer

People on the lowest incomes – both in and out of work – have endured a decade of austerity; with freezes and cuts to social security benefits and in-work support; hollowing out support, undermining resilience and ability to cope with adversity.

They now find themselves disproportionately affected by the current cost of living crisis; crushing energy bills and faced with the stark choice of going cold or hungry to make ends meet. The Consumer Price Index figure announced today by the Office for National Statistics stands at 6.7%, with inflation at 12.2% for essential food items and non-alcoholic beverages such as milk, vegetables, bread, cereals, meat and eggs.

Traditionally this Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure for September has been the default inflation measure for the Government’s statutory annual review of benefits since 2011.

However, the current Prime Minister and Chancellor have failed to commit to benefit uprating in line with inflation for next year, at a time when our poorest families are facing the sharpest end of this cost-of-living crisis, and without substantial support will be dragged into destitution. Instead the Government are reportedly considering introducing tax cuts for the most well off, on the backs of the poorest people in our society.

In order to give a voice to people affected by this issue, Advice NI has initiated a Parliamentary Petition calling on Government to uprate benefits by inflation. At 10,000 signatures, the Government must respond to this Petition.

The minimum the Government should do right now is to end the confusion and fear amongst vulnerable low income households and commit to benefit uprating in line with inflation.