Harriett Baldwin questions the Government about cost of living support to households on certain means-tested benefits this winter, and asks if the cut-off is acting as a disincentive to take on extra work.
Cost of Living: Means-tested Benefit Claimants
3. What steps his Department is taking to help claimants in receipt of means-tested benefits with increases in the cost of living. (906145)
The Government recognise the pressures people are facing and we have acted. We are providing cost of living support worth over £94 billion between 2022 and 2024 to help households and individuals with those rising costs. That includes cost of living payments totalling up to £900 in 2023-24 for over 8 million households on eligible means-tested benefits. We successfully delivered the first payment of £301 to 8.3 million households earlier this year, and the second payment of £300 will be paid in the autumn.
The Government are indeed giving generous cost of living support to households on certain means-tested benefits this winter, but if someone is on one of those means-tested benefits and they earn £1 more, they have the potential to lose the full payment. I wonder if the Minister has noticed any change in people’s behaviour as a result of that disincentive to take on extra work.
It is vital that those on low incomes, or indeed those who are keen to work more, see the incentives. In the spring Budget, we announced an ambitious package of measures to support people to take up work and, importantly, to progress by making sure that they are always better off. We are also supporting them with a significant investment in childcare and, of course, the largest ever cash increase to the national living wage, taking it up to £10.42. I would say to those people that they should look at the benefits calculator on gov.uk, because they will always be better off in work.