CSAN Statement on Autumn Statement 2023

CSAN Statement on the Autumn Statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented to Parliament on 23 November 2023.

On Wednesday 22 November, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, presented his Autumn Statement to Parliament.

CSAN appreciates the hopeful news that the rate of inflation is slowing, offering a potential alleviation for those facing financial strain in the face of the cost-of-living crisis. We call for continued vigilance to guarantee the vulnerable are not left behind in this economic recovery.

The decision to increase universal credit and benefits is a positive step, reflecting a commitment to supporting those in need. However, CSAN is very concerned about the introduction of tougher measures for benefit eligibility. It is imperative that these measures do not inadvertently exclude individuals, pushing them to the margins of society. CSAN advocates for a compassionate and inclusive welfare system that safeguards the vulnerable, ensuring that no one is left without the essential support they require.

CSAN welcomes the government’s commitment to supporting individuals back into the workforce, recognizing the potential for personal fulfilment and societal contribution. However, we emphasize the need for a nuanced approach that acknowledges the limitations some individuals face. CSAN calls on the government to make a steadfast commitment to those who, due to disability or other constraints, cannot engage in paid work. It is crucial that these individuals are not subjected to undue pressure, and the government provides clear assurances of support and security for people with disabilities.

The absence of a clear path forward for reducing child poverty in the country is a matter of disappointment for CSAN. We believe that eradicating child poverty should be a national priority, and we express concern about the persistence of the two-child benefit cap for families, as made public in our submission to the Treasury ahead of the Statement. CSAN continue calls on the government to articulate a comprehensive strategy for tackling child poverty and to reconsider policies that may exacerbate the financial challenges faced by families.

The introduction of a triple lock for pensioners and an increase in housing allowance is a positive development that has the potential to improve the quality of life for many. CSAN hopes these measures will provide meaningful support to pensioners, lifting many out of poverty and ensuring their well-deserved dignity in retirement.

While CSAN acknowledges the positive step of increasing the national living wage and extending it to 21-year-olds, we remain aware of the challenges faced by young people in apprenticeships, training, or full-time employment who may not be adequately compensated. CSAN urges the government to continue supporting these individuals by matching the Real Living Wage[1], ensuring fair and just remuneration that reflects the value of their contributions to society.

For more information, please contact Daisy Vanderputt, CSAN’s Senior Officer for Policy and Public Affairs at daisy.vanderputt@csan.org.uk

[1] https://www.livingwage.org.uk