Ahead of the Autumn Statement Citizens Advice is calling for benefits to be uprated in line with inflation and Local Housing Allowance to be unfrozen.

Rosie Waters, chief officer of Citizens Advice North Herts, said:

"Citizens Advice North Herts and Citizens Advice Stevenage continues to see relentless demand for their services as the cost-of-living crisis shows no sign of abating.

"We’re helping people in work, families and pensioners. Millions of people in a negative budget - doing their best to balance the books but without enough to cover their essential costs each month. 

"The government must not overlook those on low incomes. Failing to increase benefits in line with inflation and keeping Local Housing Allowance frozen means the situation for millions will only get worse."

Key national figures from Citizens Advice

Freezing benefits in 2023/24 would lead to a real-terms cut in the Universal Credit standard allowance of £25.55 per month for individuals or £40.11 for couples. 

The effect on families would be much much greater. Eg. A couple with two children would experience a real terms cut of £77.47 per month while a single parent with two children would see a loss of £62.9 per month.

People coming to Citizens Advice for help with debt with benefits income currently have an average shortfall of £30.50 each month. But if benefits are frozen this will increase to £80 every month.

If benefits had regularly been uprated in line with inflation since 2015, Universal Credit standard allowance for individuals would be £24 higher each month than it is today. This gap will rise to more than £50 per month if benefits are frozen again.

Working people have told Citizens Advice that they are using credit cards to top up energy meters due to the pressure of high bills. The spiralling costs of food, private rent and other necessities means many people are 'living on empty'.

They simply don’t have enough money coming in to pay for the basics. It is essential that the government Autumn announces that essential benefits will go up in line with rising prices.

If you’re struggling, please get in touch with Citizens Advice North Herts or Citizens Advice Stevenage.

You can call the Hertfordshire Citizens Advice Line on 0800 144 88 48. 

Opening hours are 10am to 9pm Monday to Wednesday, 10am to 8pm Thursday and Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturday.