I am pleased to announce the proposed social security benefit and pension rates for 2019/20. I have attached the table of rates to this Statement and I will place a copy of the proposed benefit and pension rates 2019/20 in the House Library. The annual up-rating of benefits will take place for state pensions and most other benefits in the first full week of the tax year. In 2019, this will be the week beginning 8 April. A corresponding provision will be made in Northern Ireland and the Scottish Government will lay its own statutory instruments to make these increases to Carer’s Allowance in Scotland.
The annual up-rating process takes into account a variety of measures:
- The basic and new State Pension will be increased by the Government’s ‘triple lock’ commitment, meaning that they will be up-rated in line with the highest of prices (CPI), earnings or 2.5%. Consequently, they will be up-rated by 2.6% (the May-July Average Weekly Earnings figure).
- The legislative requirement for the Pension Credit Standard Minimum Guarantee is that it is increased at least in line with earnings. This year the Pension Credit Standard Minimum Guarantee will increase by £4.25 a week for a single person (and £6.45 for a couple). The Pension Credit Savings Credit maximum amount will be increased in line with prices.
- Benefits linked to the additional costs of disability, and for carers, are increased by the annual rise in prices (2.4%). A number of other elements – including Non-Dependant Deductions – will also be up-rated in line with prices.
- The majority of working-age benefits have been frozen at their 2015/16 levels for four years under the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.
- In line with the announcement in the Autumn Budget, Universal Credit Work Allowances will be increased by £1,000 from April 2019. This increase will take effect after the rates are increased by prices.
The list of proposed benefit and pension rates also includes a change to the Carer’s Allowance Earnings Rule, which will be increased for 2019/20 from £120 to £123 a week.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: