26 May 2022

CIH welcomes Government support measures on cost of living

On 26 May, the Chancellor announced measures to address the rising cost of living. In summary:

  • £400 discount on energy bills for all households
  • £650 for those on the lowest incomes (supported through the welfare system)
  • £150 for those on disability living allowance
  • £300 for pensioners who receive winter fuel payments
  • Local Authority Household Support Fund increased by £500 million.

In response, Gavin Smart, chief executive of Chartered Institute of Housing, said:  

“We’re pleased to see Government stepping in to provide much needed support at this unprecedented time. CIH, along with others, has been calling for this vital financial intervention for some time.

The (mainly) targeted support for the most vulnerable via the benefits system is most welcome and confirmation that next year’s benefits will be uprated in line with September inflation is a positive step. However, if energy prices continue to rise, further support will be needed, which must come through adequate social security support.

Some of the most vulnerable families on low incomes are struggling now because of the successive failure to uprate benefits in line with the cost of living fully. Our analysis shows that everyone who gets support - both in and out of work (tax credits) - is receiving at least £400 a year less in real terms than in 2012 (even less if a couple or family). The Government needs to increase the benefit cap to ensure that the support given through this package is not simultaneously removed.

One area where we would still like to see more government support is energy efficiency, which has no mention in today’s announcement. With 20 per cent of UK carbon emissions linked to the residential sector, this energy crisis is a reminder of the need to move to net zero carbon as fast as possible, retrofitting homes so that they are no longer leaking energy. We will continue working with the Government and our members on this important agenda.