Contact responds to government’s Autumn Statement

3 mins read

Thursday 17 November 2022

Today, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt set out the government’s plans for the economy in his Autumn Statement.

Measures announced include:

  • Means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, to rise from April 2023 in line with September 2022’s inflation levels of 10.1%.
  • The household energy price cap to be extended by one year beyond April 2023, but made less generous. Typical bills will be capped at £3,000 a year instead of £2,500, as they are now.
  • Households on means-tested benefits to get a £900 cost-of-living support payment next year.
  • Individuals on disability benefits to get a second £150 cost-of-living support payment next year.

Read the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in full.

Our CEO responds to the Autumn Statement

Amanda Batten, Contact’s CEO, has responded to the Autumn Statement:

“We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement today to increase benefits in line with inflation. And we welcome the extra payment of £150 for individuals on disability benefits, alongside an additional payment of £900 for households on means-tested benefits. But this won’t be enough to help families with very sick and disabled children who need support right now.

“These families simply can’t wait until next April for these payments. These are families already incurring extra energy costs because they run life-saving and other health-related electrical equipment, like ventilators and SATs monitors, which they can’t switch off. It was disappointing that there was nothing in the Chancellor’s announcement today that will help families with extra disability and heating costs get through this winter.

“We will continue to seek reassurance that the government’s plan for Universal Credit claimants to meet regularly with a work coach will not unfairly impact on unpaid carers who have to juggle their caring responsibilities and work. And the Carer’s Allowance earnings limit still leaves those juggling care and paid employment in limbo, unable to earn more. The government needs to address this urgently.”

We will spell out what today’s Autumn Statement means for families with disabled children in more detail soon.

Families with disabled children need targeted support this winter

Our Out of Energy research shows that this winter, families with seriously ill and disabled children can’t afford to run the life-saving and other equipment their child relies on. 

Over a third (39%) of families told us they have already cut back or stopped using essential disability equipment due to rising energy costs. That’s three times more than in March, before energy bills started to soar. Of those, 40% say this is making their child’s condition worse.

“I haven’t paid the electricity bill for two months now. I have no idea what to do. I can’t not give her oxygen, but I can’t afford to run the equipment that keeps her alive. It’s scary. If she gets pneumonia, it will be life-threatening. Choosing between breathing or freezing isn’t a choice anyone should be made to do.”

Taran, dad and full-time carer to Skye

Watch this powerful piece on Channel 4 News where dads Taran and Dan explain how, without government help, they’ve had to cut back on their children’s life-saving medical equipment.

Donate to Contact today

With our expert, independent finance advice, families get the help they’re entitled to and could be better off by an average of £5,000 a year. And we won’t stop campaigning until the government provides essential targeted support for some of the UKs most vulnerable families. 

Donate today and help us be there for families with disabled children when they need us most.