This government is stepping up support for pensioners and the most vulnerable
At the heart of this government’s mission is supporting the most vulnerable in society through the economic challenges we are facing. As Work and Pensions Secretary, guaranteeing that safety net has been my top priority.
Last week, we made good on that promise: raising wages for low earners, increasing benefits and pensions by over 10 per cent from next April, offering further direct payments to the least well-off, and giving every household support with energy bills.
Today we’re rolling out further support worth up to £600 per household
Over the coming months, we know pensioners will face particular challenges as the evenings get longer and temperatures plummet. To help them through this, from today we’re rolling out further support worth up to £600 per household through our Winter Fuel Payments and extra pensioner cost of living payments.
The payments – to over 11.6m pensioners across the United Kingdom – will arrive over the next two months, the vast majority directly into people’s bank accounts.
We know how valuable this support will be to the pensioners – grandparents, parents, loved ones and friends – who have contributed so much to this country.
Pensioners spend more time in their homes over the winter months compared to those of working age, and as they’re more likely to be dependent on fixed incomes, face specific difficulties dealing with the rising prices and energy costs being experienced here and internationally.
Next year, we’ll also be delivering the biggest increase in the state pension’s history. Under this government, the basic state pension is already over £2,300 higher than in 2010. From next April, it will be over £3,050 higher. Alongside this, for the first time the new state pension will be worth over £10,000 per year.
We are also boosting pension credit for the poorest pensioners by 10.1 per cent. We’re continuing to get the word out about pension credit, calling on everyone with retired family, friends and loved ones to check in with them and see if they can get this extra financial support which can make a huge difference to people’s lives.
Looking after our elderly is a key priority, but when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable, we have shown we are committed to supporting people whatever age they may be and in whatever part of the country they may live.
On top of our existing support package, which has included direct payments of £650 for eight million households, next year we will be sending more automatic cash payments to people on the lowest incomes, including £900 to millions of working-age households on Universal Credit and an extra £150 for disabled people.
This follows the payments we have already been sending out this year. Millions of the most vulnerable will have received £1,200 of direct support by the end of this winter, and the package announced by the Chancellor last week goes further to protect every household from higher bills from next spring and through to the following winter.
And that’s not all. From next April, boosting the National Living Wage will benefit around two million people. It will mean an additional £1,600 a year for a full-time worker, with young people and apprentices on the National Minimum Wage also seeing wage increases.
Increasing state pensions and working-age benefits with inflation, making sure that people’s incomes are protected in difficult times, providing support for our pensioners to keep warm this winter. Looking after the most vulnerable will always be the priority for this government.
Mel Stride, Conservative MP for Central Devon and Work and Pensions Secretary.
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