Cost of Living: Support for Vulnerable Households

Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at on 6 March 2023.

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Photo of Alexander Stafford Alexander Stafford Conservative, Rother Valley

What steps his Department is taking to support the most vulnerable households with increases in costs.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Government recognise the pressures people are facing and have acted, providing cost of living support worth over £37 billion in 2022-23. In April, we are going further by uprating benefits, state pensions and the benefit cap by 10.1%. We are also providing £1 billion for the extension of the household support fund in England, with Barnett consequentials for the devolved Administrations. That includes £12.4 million for Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council residents from October 2021 to March next year.

Photo of Alexander Stafford Alexander Stafford Conservative, Rother Valley

Will my hon. Friend confirm that her Department has changed the way it makes cost of living payments, so that those in the most need continue to benefit, while ensuring that we do not overburden the hard-working majority of my constituents in Rother Valley with ever higher taxes?

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I thank my hon. Friend for making that point. We are legislating this afternoon for the three further cost of living payments for the next financial year, ensuring that more people are eligible for support and that we are reaching the most vulnerable. The payments will be worth up to £900, with a further £300 for pensioners and £150 for those with a disability. In Rother Valley, we estimate that 10,600 households will be eligible for means-tested cost of living payments, and that 11,800 households will be eligible for disability cost of living support.

Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth

It has been nearly 12 months since the Equality and Human Rights Commission issued a section 23 notice against the Department for Work and Pensions, following concerns about the deaths of and discrimination against disabled claimants. Has an agreement yet been reached, and, if not, when will it be?

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

I thank the hon. Lady for her point. I am assured by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work that constructive conversations are ongoing and that this matter is being taken seriously. I am sure that he will have the hon. Lady’s question.