“Picking up the pieces” - The SVP responds to the Spring Budget 2024

Copyright: Zara Farrar/HM Treasury/Flickr

Today’s Budget set out by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt does not do enough to address some of the important issues affecting people in the UK. Particularly in light of a recession and an estimated 14 million people living in poverty in the UK today, this budget falls short of the essential investment needed to bring about meaningful changes to the lives of the people we support every day. 

Our CEO, Elizabeth Palmer says “Over the past two years we have seen a steady rise in requests for help. Our national office alone has seen a 49% increase in requests for help. This is in addition to the over 19,000 people supported by our centres, community hubs and volunteer member groups. Policies announced today will provide little relief to people who are struggling to meet their essential needs including food, heating and housing. We will continue to respond to calls for help, but we urge the government to act urgently to provide support for millions of households who are simply not coping.” 

We welcome the extension of the Household Support Fund (HSF) for a further six months, however, we are concerned this won’t go far enough to help households in need. Several of our frontline centres have used the HSF to provide people with essential items including white goods, cooking facilities for families who had none, and beds for families in temporary accommodation. With Local Authorities’ increasingly stretched budgets, this funding helped to prevent crises from escalating. A temporary extension does not go far enough, long-term funding is urgently needed. 

Abby Wootton, Centre Manager at our St Vincent’s Wirral says “The need for support with essential items is so high, in the last month alone we have supplied over £10K worth of essential items, mostly white goods. Without HSF funding, and the cost of living payments ceasing, I really wonder how low-income households will be able to afford any unexpected expenses”. 

We continue to call for an increase in the basic rate of Universal Credit to allow people to at least afford their essentials. Whilst welcome measures were announced, including an increase in the repayment period for Universal Credit advanced payments, this budget does not do enough to support households in need. 

Today’s budget did not provide the respite people were looking for. Failing to extend the Household Support Fund beyond six months, or not replacing it with alternative funding, will result in charities and local groups picking up the pieces – something they lack the resources to do. Growing numbers of people are increasingly relying on charities like the SVP to meet their essential needs. This highlights the need for urgent action to empower people and families to not only meet their current needs but also to break free from the cycle of poverty and plan for a better future. 

















Header image copyright: Zara Farrar/HM Treasury/Flickr