As the cost of living continue to grip the nations wallets and purses, viewers of the Martin Lewis Money Show welcomed back the money saving expert to screens
Martin Lewis was back for a special edition of his hit ITV show coving everything you needed to know about the 2023 budget. The money expert has been vocal in his plea to the government for help to households as energy bills and household costs continue to increase and put millions of people under pressure.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a raft of new measures during Wednesday’s (15 March) budget statement. This included changes to childcare and pension policies, as well as major announcements being made over energy bills and tax.
But have all the measures introduced made life easier? And how can you take advantage of some of the new changes?
Here’s Martin Lewis’ verdict on the budget 2023.
What did Martin Lewis say about energy bills?
There is no doubt that energy bills remains to be one of the biggest concerns for households across the UK. In his budget for 2023, Hunt announced that the energy price guarantee freeze would be extended until at least June 2023, with household bills capped at £2,500.
Lewis welcomed the freeze. He “thanked” the Chancellor for the intervention in energy bills as the cost of living and inflation rate remains high across the country.
However, he warned that energy customers on prepayment meters could end up paying more money in their bills in the future. This is because when fixed tarriff are reintroduced by energy companies, direct debit customers are usually the only group to benefit from this.
What did Martin Lewis say about pensions?
Lewis reminded viewers that while announcements were made during the budget around pensions and the lifetime allowance limit, there are still plans in place for state pensions. Personal Allowance and tax thresholds are still frozen.
However, the money expert warned that this freeze may be counterproductive in the future. He warned that if wages eventually rise but the freeze remains in place, a higher rate of tax will actuall end up being paid on pension contributions.
Lewis added that the change in the Money Purchase Annual Allowance - the amount that you are able to pay back into your pension per year once you begin taking out from it - is one of the “most powerful” points of the budget. The allowance has been increased for £4,000 per year to £10,000 per year from April 2023.
What did Martin Lewis say about childcare?
The Chancellor announced during Wednesday’s budget statement that there would be a focus on childcare on the next year. This includes 30 free hours for children under five where applicable.
However, Lewis inisted that eligibility rules to receive these 30 free hours needs to be addressed by the government. He stated on the show that both parents must be employed full time and “earn equivalent to £166 per week.”
What did Martin Lewis say about universal credit?
Although less attention has been given to universal credit and the new policy points in the 2023 budget around the subject, Lewis took the time to address concerns and give advice on the budget special of the show.
He started with a warning given during the budget announcement on Wednesday that 100,000 people on universal credit will need to step up in their search for work or risk losing their entitlement to the benefit. The required hours needed to work before meeting DWP job coaches has been increase from 15 hours to 18 hours.
However, he also gave viewers a handy tip to gain a bonus £300 is they are on universal credit. Lewis said that those on universal credit or working tax credit could sign up to a How to Save account on the UK goverment website.
The savings account will see the government hand over a 50% bonus of the amount saved after two years of the account being open, with the bonus being given against the highest amount in the account over its lifespan. Therefore, if the maximum amount of £600 is saved over the two year, a bonus £300 will be deposited.