Social Security Benefits: Standard of Living

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 1st October 2021.

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Photo of Rachael Maskell Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of (a) trends in the cost of living and (b) the impact that those trends are having on standards of living of people claiming social security support.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

No assessment has been made.

The Secretary of State completes an annual review of most benefit rates for people below State Pension age to determine whether they have retained their value in relation to the general level of prices. Where prices have increased relative to the value of those benefits, the Secretary of State will increase certain disability and carers’ benefits – such as Personal Independence Payments and Carer’s Allowance – at least in line with that increase. She may also decide to increase other benefits, such as Universal Credit. That decision is discretionary, but it is conventional that these rates are also increased in line with the increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The up-rating review is conducted in the Autumn of each year, with the outcome announced in November and the new rates implemented the following April.

The Universal Credit £20 uplift was a temporary measure set out in legislation separate to up-rating. The temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

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