Autumn Statement: only long-term solutions will ensure no one is left behind
The government’s Autumn Statement could not have been clearer. The cost of living crisis, higher taxes and squeeze on spending will reduce everyone’s standard of living.
But high inflation and terrifying energy price rises are already causing big problems for individuals and families, including in relatively prosperous places. Many on low (and increasingly middle) incomes are asking Citizens Advice for help. Last month we called on the government to ease the crisis for these people with action on working-age benefits, energy bills and energy efficiency.
In the event he listened and has announced some welcome measures in all three:
- Uprating benefits in line with inflation (unequivocally good news)
- Helping with energy bills by extending cost of living payments and better targeting
- Investing in energy efficiency measures, like home insulation.
Yet many will still miss out…
….and risk joining the growing number of our clients asking for crisis support. Energy support payments create cliff edges for those just outside the income bounds. The incomes squeeze means people on average pay are no longer safe. And there is no detail on helping people improve energy efficiency, which will in any case be little help in the short term*.
The crisis is far from over
By April energy bills will have risen by over £1,000. At the moment other essentials including food show no sign of falling in price. The Autumn Statement helps but long-term solutions are essential to make sure no one is left behind.
* The Sunday Times reports that the business minister is to launch an energy efficiency campaign before Christmas: Tell Sid to turn down the thermostat, Sunday Times, 20/11/22