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How will the Autumn Budget affect me?

The government released the 2023 Autumn Statement which outlines changes to benefits and other financial schemes. We've summarised some of the main changes so you can work out how the budget might affect you.  


Will the government be changing benefit rates?

Yes – benefit rates will increase in line with inflation. This has been measured by September CPI (Consumer Price Index) and means an increase of 6.7% this year. These increases will come into effect from April 2024.

Not sure what you're entitled to?

Our handy benefits calculator can help you work out if you're missing out on money you should be getting. It only takes a few minutes to find out.


What's happening with the triple lock?

The State Pension will be increased by 8.5% in April 2024, in line with average wage increase. The Pension Credit standard minimum guarantee will also increase by 8.5%.

The pension triple lock was reintroduced in April 2023 after being suspended during the coronavirus pandemic. The triple lock is a commitment from the government to increase the State Pension in line with whichever of the following 3 things is highest:

  • inflation
  • the average wage increase
  • 2.5%.

Is Local Housing Allowance going up?

Yes – from April 2024 Local Housing Allowance rates will be increased to 30% of local market rents. This will last for one year, the rates will be frozen again from April 2025.

Local Housing Allowance rates are used to calculate how much housing benefit and Universal Credit people receive in order to pay private rent in the UK. They’re based on how much private renters are paying in your local area, so this change means that people claiming housing benefit or Universal Credit will receive enough to pay 30% of their local market rent rate.


Is the National Living Wage increasing?

Yes – National Living Wage, also known as legal minimum wage, will increase from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour from April 2024. Also, the threshold will be lowered to include people aged 21 and over. See the table below to find out more:

Age

Minimum hourly wage for 2023/24

Minimum hourly wage for 2024/25

Apprentices and people aged 16-17

£5.28

£6.40

People aged 18-20

£7.49

£8.60

People aged 21-22

£10.18

£11.44

People aged 23 and over

£10.42

£11.44


What are the changes to National Insurance?

The autumn budget has announced a cut to National Insurance (NI) rates. This means some people’s take-home pay will increase. The changes vary depending on which NI class you’re in:

Class of NI

Who does this affect?

What are the changes?

From when?

Class 1

Employees under State Pension age earning more than £242 a week

Reduced from 12% to 10%

6 January 2024

Class 2

Self-employed people earning more than £12,570 a year

Abolished

6 April 2024

Class 4

Self-employed people earning more than £12,570 a year

Reduced from 9% to 8%

6 April 2024

The government have stated that self-employed people who don’t need to pay Class 2 contributions anymore will continue to have access to contributory benefits, including the State Pension.

There will be more details on these changes in the new year.


What is the Back to Work Plan?

The Back to Work Plan is a package of schemes that aim to help people with disabilities or long-term health conditions look for and stay in work. The government will invest £1.3 billion into the scheme over the next 5 years.

As part of this plan, the government has introduced sanctions that mean if you’re classed as able to work, but refuse to find work, then your benefits can be stopped and you could lose access to other things, such as free prescriptions and legal aid.

Other changes include:

  • People who’ve been on Intensive Work Search for 6 months will now be eligible for the Restart scheme. This scheme provides up to 12 months of support to help those who are long-term unemployed to find work.
  • In England and Wales, people who claim Universal Credit and have completed the Restart scheme but are still unemployed after 18 months will have a review from a work coach.
  • People who claim Universal Credit but don’t agree to the claimant commitments without good reason will lose access to their benefits. These commitments include attending mandatory work placements and new intensive work search activities.
  • People who claim Universal Credit that have been put on open-ended sanctions for 6 months could have their claim closed.

How has the Work Capability Assessment changed?

The Work Capability Assessment is going to be reformed to reflect the possibility of working from home after the coronavirus pandemic. The reforms will affect the activities and descriptors for new claims in the UK, and will come into effect in 2025.


How will the budget affect fit notes?

The government will be reforming the fit note process to support more people in getting back to work after a period of illness. They’ll be running trials in a small number of areas in England and will look at wider reforms for the fit note process in 2024.

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Last updated: Apr 08 2024

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