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A recent report by the Work and Pensions Committee, calls on the Government to act to increase financial support for those who need it most. 

The cross-party group of MPs has proposed the introduction of a new standard for determining benefit levels that would accurately reflect the cost of living.  

This recommendation aims to ensure that jobseekers, low-income earners, carers, and disabled people receive adequate financial support. 

The committee’s findings highlight a concerning gap between current benefit amounts and the actual costs necessary for daily living. This discrepancy has left many unable to afford essential items or manage the additional expenses that come with health impairments or disabilities.  

In response, the committee has suggested the Department for Work and Pensions set a “benchmark” for the health and disability related costs it intends PIP to cover. It should then set out how it intends to reach this.   

This approach aims to establish a benefits system that provides a realistic assessment of living costs. 

This call for a reform in how benefits are calculated and updated annually underscores a broader issue of ensuring that everyone has access to a basic level of support that reflects the true cost of living. 

The committee also advised making the household support fund a permanent fixture. This fund, allocated to councils to aid individuals facing financial hardship, has been a temporary measure and was recently extended for another six months to September 2024. 

The extension, while welcome, underscores the need for a long-term solution to support those who need the most support.  

To read the committee’s report in various formats – including easy read – please click here