‘A great outcome’: Charities welcome protection to benefits and pensions in Autumn Statement

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street (PA Wire)
Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt leaves 11 Downing Street (PA Wire)

Charities have given a warm welcome to Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement commitment to increase pensions and benefits in line with inflation.

The chancellor’s statement contained a pledge to “protect the vulnerable” after UK inflation hit a 41-year high in October.

The so-called triple lock was introduced by the then coalition government in 2010 to ensure the value of the state pension would not be overtaken by the increase in cost of living.

Age UK tweeted on Thursday in response to Mr Hunt and prime minister Rishi Sunak: “Thank You. Your commitment to protect the triple lock and uprate benefits with inflation will be a huge relief for households struggling to make ends meet.

“This is a great outcome - thank you to everyone who campaigned to make this happen.”

The Chancellor also confirmed that disability and working age benefits will be increased in line with inflation.

Such benefits will rise by 10.1% from April in line with the rate of inflation in September, at a cost of £11 billion.

Oxfam also welcomed the news but has said “more is needed” to help those struggling.

Chief executive Danny Sriskandarajah said: “The confirmation that benefits will increase in line with inflation will be a welcome relief to people who are struggling to make ends meet but much more needs to be done to protect the most vulnerable both at home and abroad.”

He referenced the protections as well as the government reversing its 2019 manifesto pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of gross domestic income on foreign aid - with it now set to keep the figure at 0.5 per cent until 2028.

“At a time when people in the UK are choosing between heating and eating and when millions are facing famine in East Africa, this statement delivers insufficient help to those who urgently need much more.

“The chancellor is right to ask for more money from those who can afford it - including extending the windfall tax and reducing capital gains tax allowances. But he could and should have done more.”