Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has responded to the Government’s 2022 Spring Statement, announced today (23 March) by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
The mini-budget comes within the context of several economic crises, including the rising costs of energy, fuel and food, the growth of inflation to 6.2%, and the ongoing economic impact — as well as the vast human toll — of the war in Ukraine.
Today’s Spring Statement made a number of pledges to tackle this cost of living crisis, including:
- An additional £500million to the Government’s Household Support Fund, which provides councils with money to support vulnerable households;
- Increasing the threshold for the amount people earn before they pay National Insurance to £12,570;
- Offering 0% VAT on energy saving materials to improve household energy efficiency, and;
- Cutting fuel duty by 5p per litre to curb the rise in fuel prices.
St Mungo’s Chief Executive, Steve Douglas CBE, said: “It is good to see today’s budget recognising the cost of living crisis, which seriously threatens to push more people into homelessness – both those sleeping rough for the first time, and those returning to the streets.
“We welcome the doubling of the Household Support Fund, as this will give local authorities more power and means to support vulnerable households in their areas.
“However, to truly prevent those living on a knife edge from becoming homeless, the Government must look towards increasing benefits, which was a key recommendation of the Kerslake Commission on Rough Sleeping and Homelessness.
“At the very minimum, increasing benefits to be in line with inflation will make a significant contribution to keeping people off of the streets and in secure tenancies, which is fundamental to achieving our shared commitment to ending rough sleeping by 2024.”
The Kerslake Commission will be convening again in March, and releasing a progress report in September, to assess progress on the Government commitment to end rough sleeping by 2024.