“Thank you for contacting me about unfreezing Local Housing Allowance. I think it is important to discuss this subject with the context of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
In January 2023, the Prime Minister set out five priorities for government. Three were economic: to halve inflation; grow the economy; and reduce debt. Since then, inflation has halved, the economy has recovered more quickly from the pandemic than first thought, and debt is on track to fall.
Thanks to the stability this has brought, the Government is now able to focus on the long-term decisions required to strengthen our economy: reducing debt; cutting tax and rewarding hard work; building domestic, sustainable energy; backing British businesses; and delivering world-class education.
I welcome that Autumn Statement 2023 sets out the biggest package of tax cuts to be implemented at a fiscal event since the 1980s, while at the same time getting inflation falling and borrowing lower. The Chancellor will reduce taxes for 27 million working people from January by cutting the main rate of National Insurance contributions from 12 to 10 per cent. For the average worker earning £35,000 a year, this means a tax cut of £450. I also welcome that the Government will boost the National Living Wage (NLW) by 9.8 per cent to record levels of £11.44 an hour. A full-time worker on the NLW will see their pay increase by over £1,800.
The Government is also continuing to support the most vulnerable. All working-age benefits will be increased in full by 6.7 per cent, boosting the incomes of 5.5 million households who receive Universal Credit by an average of £470 a year. In line with the Triple Lock, pensions will be boosted by 8.5 per cent, ensuring dignity in older age for those who have worked their entire lives.
The Government will also increase Local Housing Allowance rates, making 1.6 million families better off by an average of £800 in 2024-25. I am really pleased that LHA rates have been increased after my long campaign to do so with the Treasury and the Chancellor, due to the cost to residents and the housing benefit cost to both Hastings Borough and Rother District Councils in housing people in temporary accommodation because of a lack of social and affordable housing. The LHA issue has also been raised frequently with me by 1066 Citizens Advice, Seaview and HARC. Whilst it will help locally that the LHA has now been increased to cover the lower 30% of rents nationwide, it will not solve the issue and it is therefore vital that our local authorities plan strategically for the right homes to be built in the right places. I continue to urge both local authorities to plan for the housing that is needed locally.
This Autumn Statement takes another step forward in tackling the long-term economic challenges facing the UK, allowing us to build a more dynamic economy that delivers prosperity across the country and the change it needs.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Sally-Ann Hart MP."