Martin Lewis has urged Jeremy Hunt to fix four financial penalties he says will help improve the budgets of millions of people across the country.
The Money Saving Expert founder has written to the chancellor calling on him to reform child benefits rules penalising single-income families, the ISA scheme punishment hitting young first-time buyers, above inflation phone and broadband price hikes and “real terms cuts” to student living loans”.
His letter to the chancellor comes six weeks ahead of the spring Budget, where the government will set out its spending priorities for the months ahead.
Mr Hunt and Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, have over the past few days floated several changes to policy that could be included in the Budget, including tax cuts, and changes to child benefits and mortgages.
“I hope he listens and we see change in the budget [sic]. He can’t now say he wasn’t told” Mr Lewis wrote in his letter. He said he would also be sending a letter to Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow chancellor.
In an interview with Mr Lewis on his Money Show Live earlier this month, Mr Hunt admitted that there was an “unfairness” in the child benefit system, meaning some families get less support or none at all because of “overcomplicated” tax rules.
The budget is just 6 weeks away. Today I sent the Chancellor, @Jeremy_Hunt a letter, on his request, to ask that he fixes:
- Unfair Child Benefit rules penalising single income families
- The Lifetime ISA penalty hitting young 1st time buyers
- Above inflation mid-contract… pic.twitter.com/ZVIt00Cq1p
— Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis) January 22, 2024
The current “grossly unfair” rules mean that anyone earning more than £50,000 is required to pay some of their child benefit back but a couple with a combined income of £100,000 would get the full payment. Meanwhile a single-parent family earning £60,000 a year wouldn’t get any, nor would a two-parent family with one earner getting £60,000 and over.
Mr Lewis has also criticised the ISA scheme for first-time home buyers, where savers are “essentially fined” when they purchase homes above the scheme’s £450,000 limit.
He has also campaigned against mobile phone and broadband companies who have raised their prices above inflation “mid-contract”, meaning millions of customers are set to see their bills increase this year.
Over the weekend newspaper reports said that Mr Hunt was considering extending child benefit to hundreds of thousands of middle-income families as part of a package of tax cuts in the Budget on 6 March, while Mr Sunak, under pressure from rightwingers in his party, used an opinion piece over to say that he would cut taxes.
But a YouGov survey published on Monday morning found that the 62 percent of voters want the government to prioritise public spending over cutting taxes.
The government is considering a radical scheme to help first-time buyers by guaranteeing mortgages which would require just 1 per cent deposits.
Mr Hunt and Mr Sunak are contemplating the bold plan to appeal to young voters struggling to get onto the property ladder, The Independent understands.
Government sources said a Treasury-backed scheme to help “generation rent” is one of the big ideas being discussed for the spring fiscal statement.