Amid all the gloom, the Chancellor protected pensions
and benefits in his Autumn Statement, says Paul Lewis
There was some good news in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last month. The state pension, along with almost all other benefits, will rise by 10.1% next April, in line with prices in the year to September.
The basic rate of the old state pension will increase by £14.35 a week from £141.85 to £156.20. The new state pension, paid to people who reached pension age from 6 April 2016, will go up by £18.70 a week from £185.15 to £203.85. All other parts of the pension, such as graduated pension and Serps, any protected amounts paid with the new state pension, and any extra pension for deferring, will rise by 10.1% as well.
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The average weekly state pension paid from April is expected to be around £167 a week for women on the old state pension, and £187.50 a week for female new-state-pensioners. Men will get more: £196.58 (old) and £193.48 (new). These are averages, so yours will be less or more than this – but whatever you get now will rise by 10.1%.
(Women, on average, get lower pensions because many of them have incomplete contribution records. Many of those on the old pension depend on their husband’s contributions for a small pension of their own. That will rise £8.60 a week to £93.60.)
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The same 10.1% rise will apply to almost all other benefits, including attendance allowance, which will be £101.75 a week for those who need the most care, and carer’s allowance, which will be £76.75 a week. Widow’s benefits will also rise by 10.1%, but the bereavement support payments paid from April 2017 are expected to be frozen. Child benefit for the first child will be £24 a week and for other children almost certainly £15.90 a week. But the annual income threshold where child benefit begins to be taken back in extra tax remains at £50,000, so parents who get pay rises above that level will find they lose some – or, at £60,000, all – their child benefit in extra tax.
QUESTIONS? Send any questions to Paul.Lewis@radiotimes.com. Paul cannot answer you personally, but will reflect them in his column.