Poverty and Inequality Commission comment on UK Government Autumn Statement 2023

Responding to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement 2023, the Poverty and Inequality Commission said:

“Today the Chancellor confirmed that reserved benefits will be increased by inflation, following the usual practice. While this is welcome, it should never have been in question given the hardship people encounter as a result of a UK social security system that is inadequate to cover the costs of the essentials that people need to live.

“The plans announced by the Chancellor to expand future benefit sanctions, particularly those likely to be faced by disabled people, are deeply concerning. The Commission knows the negative consequences that benefit sanctions can have on people who are subject to them, including driving them into complete destitution.

“Sanctions that hit disabled people and those experiencing ill-health will drive people further into poverty and force them into unsuitable work that risks damaging both their physical and mental health, as well as fuelling stigma and discrimination. Disabled people are at a disproportionate risk of destitution in the UK and these measures risk compounding an already unacceptable situation.

“Instead of imposing sanctions the UK Government should work with employers to increase flexibility and ensure employers make reasonable adjustments for disabled people to enable those who are able to work to move into suitable, fairer, employment.”

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