For Immediate Release, 23/11/2016
The Autum Statement: ‘The fiscal equivalent of being pushed off a cliff with only a pillow to absorb the landing’
Today’s Autumn Statement was marketed as being all about helping those that are ‘Just About Managing’ but the reality does not meet the promise. While measures such as reducing the rate that Universal Credit is withdrawn at when people start work are welcome, they are a long way from restoring the value of benefits.
Similarly, whilst the increase in the upper rate of the minimum wage is very welcome, it still leaves it far behind the rate of the real Living Wage – currently £8.45 per hour or £9.75 an hour in London. Rather than increasing tax thresholds, the UK Government should look towards meaningful rises in the minimum wage for all, including under 25s.
This government needs to do more to invest in people and services. Social security should be seen as an investment in people and our nation’s future, and it must be acknowledged that the current system is not working. Rather than lifting people out of poverty it is trapping people in it.
Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said:
“We must not be lulled into a false sense of security by a few eye catching announcements by the Chancellor in today’s autumn statement.
“These measures are the fiscal equivalent of being pushed off a cliff with only a pillow to absorb the landing. Whilst changes to the taper rate for Universal Credit are welcomed, it in no way makes up for the cut in the Work Allowance for most families.
“Not only do they do little to help those families that are ‘just about managing’ but policies such as the continuing freeze on working age benefits will continue to trap people in poverty.
“Changes to the personal allowance will undoubtedly help some low paid workers, but the vast majority of this tax cut will benefit the richest half of households.
“This government must acknowledge its failure to help those on low incomes and take action to restore the value of benefits.
“More must also be done to help those families who are in in work poverty, and the Government should invest in high quality, well paid jobs to ensure that work really does pay”.