Matt Whittaker, CEO at Pro Bono Economics, said:

“Against one of the most perilous backdrops facing UK household finances in living memory, the Chancellor today offered support that was partial and poorly targeted. Even after his £17.6 billion fiscal giveaway, household living standards are expected to fall at their sharpest rate since records began in the 1950s. Real disposable income is set to drop by an average of £488 per person in 2022-23 compared with this year. 

“But this will hit some of the most vulnerable members of society harder still. The cut to fuel duty and the raising of the National Insurance threshold will do little for those at the sharp end of the income distribution, leaving them exposed to the full force of the cost-of-living crisis. 

“Surging inflation is set to erode the value of benefits by somewhere in the region of £7.5bn from April. Rather than responding directly to this challenge, the Chancellor provided councils with just £500 million of additional funding to support the most vulnerable families in their areas. Few will receive the help they need, and charities will be expecting a tide of demand from the thousands of families set to be plunged into severe financial difficulties.

“But financial pressures and employee burnout were already major concerns for the UK's charities ahead of the latest squeeze on living standards. Many charities found their funding hit hard over the course of the pandemic, and we estimate that the sector's total income may now drop by another £1.9bn in 2022. It is imperative policymakers are alive to this predicament and act to remove the barriers preventing charities supporting people in most need.”