Thank you for contacting me about these matters.
I understand constituents’ concerns regarding rising costs, and I know that ministerial colleagues are determined to help people with the cost of living.
I am committed to supporting those on low incomes and this country has a robust social security system to do so. Over £242 billion will be spent through the welfare system in Great Britain in 2022/23 including £108 billion on people of working age and over £134 billion on pensioners.
I welcome the Government's action on energy bills. Under the Energy Price Guarantee, a typical household will pay no more than £2,500 per year until April 2023. It comes in addition to the £400 Energy Bill Support Scheme. In April, there will be a Treasury-led review into how energy bills are supported going forwards. The objective of the review is to design a new approach that will cost the taxpayer significantly less than planned whilst ensuring enough support for those in need.
This action is in addition to the £37 billion worth of support introduced earlier this year for households. This includes the £400 payment Energy Bill Rebate for households, and up to £1,200 for households in receipt of qualifying benefits, which will be delivered as planned.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is required to undertake an annual statutory review of benefits and pensions. They are required to up-rate some benefits and pensions by at least the increase in earnings or prices. Other benefits, mainly those of working age, are subject to their discretion. In 2022/23 benefits and pensions were increased by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) of 3.1 per cent.
The review uses the CPI in the year to September to measure inflation, and average weekly earnings for the period May to July to measure earnings. The annual review will commence in the autumn and his decisions will be announced to Parliament in November in the normal way.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP