Leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s has responded to the Government’s autumn statement announced today (17 November 2022).
Among the measures announced by the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, the Government pledged:
- a 10.1% rise in benefits in line with September’s inflation figure from April
- to raise the benefit cap in line with inflation next year
- to extend the Household Support Fund for another year
- support for energy bills to remain in place, with the cap rising to £3,000 after April 2023, and targeted interventions for households on means-tested benefits, pensioner households and those with disabilities
- to increase the National Living Wage from £9.50 to £10.42 per hour
However, there was no commitment to increasing housing benefit, despite the fact that rents are rising at their fastest levels in 16 years – reducing the availability of affordable housing.
Reacting to the statement, St Mungo’s Chief Executive Emma Haddad said: “We welcome the measures announced today aimed at supporting the most vulnerable members of society.
“Increasing benefits in line with inflation and raising the benefit cap were both recommendations made by the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping, and will help many of our clients weather the current financial storm.
“However we do have concerns that people who are currently employed in low-wage jobs may be put at greater risk as many of the support packages announced will not be accessible to them. And there is no additional help for those facing rising rents.
“We know from our clients that things are really difficult right now and many are struggling to pay their bills. There remains the very real threat that the cost of living crisis will push more people into homelessness this winter.
“The Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy’s focus on preventing homelessness is more important now than ever. And St Mungo’s will continue to work tirelessly with our partners in local and national government to stop people becoming homeless, and support those who already have.”