The Chancellor unveiled the 2023 Autumn Budget last week. With important changes to benefits, national insurance and national living and minimum wages, we’ve rounded up all the key points you need to know.

Benefits Uprated

Over the last several months, Citizens Advice has been calling on the government to ensure benefits are uprated. The Chancellor has announced that benefits will increase by 6.7% from April 2024, giving an average increase of £470 for 5.5 million households next year.

Despite this welcome increase, the Chancellor also announced tougher new measures for job seekers. Those who are expected to find work must do so within 18 months or they will have to undertake work experience placements. Those who refuse to comply with these new rules will face having their benefits stopped. This is a plan that is still subject to parliamentary approval, and ministers say that these new rules would not apply to additional payments for child, housing, and disability support.

Local Housing Allowance Rates Unfrozen

The Chancellor announced that Local Housing Allowance rates (the rates used to calculate Housing Benefit for tenants renting from private landlords) will be unfrozen from April 2024, being increased to the 30th percentile. This means that rates will now be worth 30% of local market rents. However, this increase is set to only last for a year, and rates will be frozen again from 2025-26 onwards, meaning the help this benefit provides will decrease over time as private rental prices continue to rise.

Minimum wage increases

Minimum wages are set to increase from April 2024. The National Living Wage will rise to £11.44, and 21 and 22 year olds will now be eligible. An overview of the changes to minimum wage rates can be found in the table below.

Previous rate (April 2023)Rate from April 2024
National Minimum Wage (21+)£10.42 (£10.18 for 21 – 22 year olds)£11.44
18 – 20 year olds£7.49£8.60
16 – 17 year olds£5.28 £6.40
Apprentice Rate£5.28£6.40

National Insurance Cuts

The main rate of National Insurance contributions (Class 1) will be cut by 2% from 6th January 2024. Those self-employed will also see cuts to their National Insurance contributions from April 2024. The main rate of Class 4 self-employed National Insurance contributions will be cut from 9% to 8%, and Class 2 contributions, the flat rate weekly contribution of £3.45 for those earning more than £12,570 a year, will be abolished altogether.

Pensions

The Triple Lock on State Pensions will be maintained and State Pensions will rise by 8.5% from April 2024. It will be worth:

  • £221.20 a week for the full, new flat-rate state pension (if reached state pension age after April 2016)
  • £169.50 a week for the full, old basic state pension (if reached state pension age before April 2016)

Please Note

Both our Bury and Bolton offices will not be open on Wednesdays or Fridays for the entirety of February and March 2024.

Should you require advice, you can reach our advice line service on 0808 278 7804.

Alternatively our national advice line service can be reached on 0800 144 8848.

Emergency contact details for local authorities in both Bury and Bolton are as follows:

Bolton – https://www.bolton.gov.uk/council/emergency-contacts

Bury – https://www.bury.gov.uk/emergencies/emergency-contact-numbers

Please also be advised

We will not be taking on any new Immigration cases / referrals until further notice.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

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