Second benefits cut is unthinkable - organisations call for minimum 7% benefits rise

Published on: 
17 March 2022

Prices are rising at the fastest rate in 30 years, and energy bills alone are going to rise by 54% in April. We are all feeling the pinch but the soaring costs of essentials will hurt low-income families, whose budgets are already at breaking point, most.

There has long been a profound mismatch between what those with a low income have, and what they need to get by. Policies such as the benefit cap, the benefit freeze and deductions have left many struggling. And although benefits will increase by 3.1% in April, inflation is projected to be 7.25% by then. This means a real-terms income cut just six months after the £20 per week cut to universal credit. 

Child Poverty Action Group’s analysis shows families’ universal credit will fall in value by £570 per year, on average. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has calculated that 400,000 people could be pulled into poverty by this real-terms cut to benefits.

The government must respond to the scale of the challenge. Prices are rising across the board. Families with children in poverty will face £35 per month in extra energy costs through spring and summer, even after the government’s council tax rebate scheme is factored in. These families also face £26 per month in additional food costs. The pressure isn’t going to ease: energy costs will rise again in October. 

A second cut to benefits in six months is unthinkable. The government should increase benefits by at least 7% in April to match inflation, and ensure support for housing costs increases in line with rents. All those struggling, including families affected by the benefit cap, must feel the impact.

Much more is needed for levels of support to reflect what people need to get by, but we urge the government to use the spring statement on 23 March to stop this large gap widening even further. The people we support and represent are struggling, and budgets can’t stretch anymore.

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group

Emma Revie, Chief Executive, The Trussell Trust

Graeme Cooke, Director of Evidence and Policy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Morgan Wild, Head of Policy, Citizens Advice

Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact, Save the Children UK

Imran Hussain, Director of Policy and Campaigns, Action for Children

Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive, Turn2us

Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations, Mind

Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, Chief Executive, Oxfam GB

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director, Age UK

Eve Byrne, Director of Advocacy, Macmillan Cancer Support

Kamran Mallick, CEO, Disability Rights UK

Katherine Hill, Strategic Project Manager, 4in10 London’s Child Poverty Network

Mubin Haq, Chief Executive Officer, abrdn Financial Fairness Trust 

Bob Stronge, Chief Executive, Advice NI 

Dr Ruth Allen, Chief Executive, British Association of Social Workers

Joseph Howes, Chief Executive Officer, Buttle UK

Helen Walker, Chief Executive, Carers UK 

Balbir Chatrik, Director of Policy and Communications, Centrepoint

Gavin Smart, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Housing 

Leigh Elliott, CEO, Children North East

Paula Stringer, CEO, Christians Against Poverty (CAP)

Niall Cooper, Director, Church Action on Poverty

Lynsey Sweeney, Managing Director, Communities that Work

Anna Feuchtwang, Chair, End Child Poverty Coalition

Claire Donovan, Head of Policy, Research and Campaigns, End Furniture Poverty

Victoria Benson, CEO, Gingerbread 

Neil Parkinson, co-head of casework, Glass Door Homeless Charity

Graham Whitham, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Poverty Action

Yasmine Ahmed, UK Director, Human Rights Watch 

Sabine Goodwin, Coordinator, Independent Food Aid Network 

Jess McQuail, Director, Just Fair 

Gemma Hope, Director of Policy, Leonard Cheshire

Paul Streets, Chief Executive, Lloyds Bank Foundation for England & Wales

Jackie O’Sullivan, Director of Communication, Advocacy and Activism, Mencap

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive, Mental Health Foundation

Chris James, Director of External Affairs, Motor Neurone Disease Association

Nick Moberly, CEO, MS Society

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive, National Children’s Bureau

Charlotte Augst, Chief Executive, National Voices

Jane Streather, Chair, North East Child Poverty Commission

Tracy Harrison, Chief Executive, Northern Housing Consortium

Karen Sweeney, Director of the Women’s Support Network, on behalf of the Women’s Regional Consortium, Northern Ireland 

Satwat Rehman, CEO, One Parent Families Scotland

Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness

James Taylor, Executive Director of Strategy, Impact and Social Change, Scope

Irene Audain MBE, Chief Executive Scottish, Out of School Care Network

Steve Douglas CBE, CEO, St Mungo's 

Richard Lane, Director of External Affairs, StepChange Debt Charity

Robert Palmer, Executive Director, Tax Justice 

Claire Burns, Director, The Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELCIS)

The Disability Benefits Consortium 

Dr. Nick Owen MBE, CEO, The Mighty Creatives

Peter Kelly, Director, The Poverty Alliance

Elaine Downie, Co-ordinator, The Poverty Truth Community

Tim Morfin, Founder and Chief Executive, Transforming Lives for Good (TLG)

UCL Institute of Health Equity 

Dr Mary-Ann Stephenson, Director, Women’s Budget Group 

Natasha Finlayson OBE, Chief Executive, Working Chance

Claire Reindorp, CEO, Young Women’s Trust