Making the Autumn Statement make sense in your family budget

Here at Debt Advice Foundation we spend much of our time talking to people who are struggling with unmanageable debt.  Sometimes they are plunged into debt by catastrophic circumstances – redundancy, illness, divorce  - and sometimes it is the relentless pressure of trying to make ends meet.

What all these cases have in common is that people’s financial circumstances are never simple.  And they certainly do not divide neatly into “hard-working people with jobs” and “workshy people on benefits”.

Many, many families survive on part-time jobs, supplemented by benefits, because part time jobs are the only ones available.  (A recent planning application for a large new frozen food store said there would be just five full-time jobs and 30 part-time roles – a pattern common across the retail sector and many others.)

The measures announced in the Autumn Statement will make bewildering reading for many families who rely on a mix of incomes from full-time, part-time, casual and contract employment along with benefits when they are eligible. 

The experts are predicting an overall 1% squeeze, but it will be almost impossible for families to predict where the gains and losses will be – and as a result the task of budgeting over even a six-month period will be impossible too.

So we can make the following prediction with a fair amount of confidence: the number of people finding themselves in unmanageable debt because they simply can’t balance their budget is not going to be going down any time soon.