DWP rejects calls to boost benefits, State Pension

DWP

Benefits are usually uprated every April, in line with the rate of consumer price inflation (CPI) the previous September

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has spurned calls to give an early increase to benefits and the State Pension to help with the cost of living crisis. It has also rejected the idea of temporarily pausing automatic deductions from benefit payments.

In July, the Work and Pensions Committee – an influential group of MPs – urged the DWP to consider bringing forward its plans to uprate benefits, which it has said it will do in April 2023. The committee said a much earlier increase to welfare payments could ease financial pressures on struggling households this autumn and winter as energy bills rise.

Benefits are usually uprated every April, in line with the rate of consumer price inflation (CPI) the previous September. This coming April, benefits are expected to rise at a double-digit rate, with the CPI – a measure of inflation – having already soared to 10.1 per cent in the 12 months to July.

The committee also wanted to see a temporary halt to automatic benefit deductions due to the cost of living crisis. Some claimants have money deducted from their benefits in order to pay off debts, but critics say they can compound existing financial problems.

However, in its response to the report, the Government has said that it does not intend either to bring forward its plans to uprate benefits, or put benefit deductions on hold. Work and Pensions Committee chair Sir Stephen Timms said the decision was disappointing.

He said: The Government’s rejection of our recommendations at a time when so many families are continuing to feel real pain from rising prices is disappointing. While a package of support on energy bills is promised, the appointment of a new Secretary of State presents a fresh opportunity to consider whether a change of approach at the DWP could also offer extra help for people through the benefits system.

He said: We look forward to questioning the new Secretary of State in the coming weeks and hope she can use this autumn’s annual statutory review of benefits and state pensions to make the social security system more agile in adapting to turbulent economic times.

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