Autumn statement will cause fear for the future

Reacting to today’s Autumn Statement, Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “People want a society that’s built on the values of justice and compassion. Today’s Autumn Statement could have done much more to create that kind of economy. Despite the welcome news that social security benefits will increase in line with inflation in April next year, the announcements from the Chancellor today will still leave millions fearful for the future.”

Listen to Peter being interviewed about the Autumn Statement on BBC Scotland’s Lunchtime Live


DWP interviews

“The announcement about forcing more people into interviews with government officials will strike fear into the hearts of thousands across the country. Our unjust economy doesn’t give people the kind of secure, suitable employment that they need, and too many people simply can’t increase their working hours because of poor transport links, health and disability issues, caring commitments, or lack of affordable childcare. That situation won’t be fixed by an interview at the Jobcentre. We will strongly oppose any extension of the shameful sanctions regime – it only creates more poverty and does nothing to help people into employment.”


Energy bills

“The uncertainty around the future of the Energy Price Guarantee and wider support with fuel bills will also cause anxiety. We know that the support to date wasn’t enough to cover people’s rising fuel costs, so we must ensure that those who need it quickly receive more help after April next year. We don’t want to see a repeat in the difficulties getting support that many people on pre-payment meters have experienced, for example.”


Social security

“It’s good that the Chancellor finally confirmed that benefits will rise with inflation – doing anything else at this time of crisis would have been unjust. Politicians have a moral responsibility to protect people – especially in a time of crisis – so a real-term cut in social security benefits that are already meagre would have been outrageous. Benefit levels must be automatically linked to living costs in the future, and the unjust Benefit Cap must be scrapped.”



“Tax is the way that we support each other in a compassionate society, and it’s an essential tool for broad prosperity and wellbeing. The Chancellor was right to take action to increase the number of wealthy people that will pay the top rate of tax, and he started to make some inroads into the unfair support that’s given to wealthy people through dividend and capital gains tax allowances. That’s something to build on in the future – as is the windfall tax.

“But by freezing income tax thresholds, the Chancellor will put a bigger tax burden on people who are on low and medium incomes. It doesn’t have to be like this. Tax Justice UK has shown that the Chancellor could raise £37 billion every year by taxing excess wealth. Tax should be about redistributing wealth – because that’s the only way we can make sure everyone has what they need to build a meaningful and fulfilling life for themselves and their families.”


Public service cuts

“Cuts in public services are deadly and represent a failure of compassion. Research by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health found that more than 300,000 deaths were linked to of austerity between 2012-19. That’s not the kind of society we want and must not repeat those mistakes again – especially because we know that cuts in services hit the poorest people the hardest.”



“The national minimum wage increase is welcome, but it doesn’t meet people’s real needs. The independently calculated real Living Wage is already £10.90 an hour. We would encourage all employers to pay the real Living Wage to reduce the pressure on workers as the cost of living crisis continues.”

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