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Sunak declines to rule out real-terms benefits cut

09 Sep 2023 2 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Photo Jordan Pettitt PA Images

Rishi Sunak declined to rule out real-terms cuts to benefits amid suggestions the move could be taken to free up cash for tax cuts ahead of the next general election.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is reportedly weighing up breaking with custom by not raising welfare payments in line with inflation in his autumn financial statement.

The move would provoke allegations that the Government is targeting some of the most vulnerable during a cost-of-living crisis in order to cut taxes.

And it would be particularly contentious if ministers also maintained the “triple lock” on pensions by raising those payments in line with rising prices or earnings.

Mr Sunak declined to “speculate” about what will be in the Chancellor’s statement on November 22 when asked if he could guarantee benefits will rise with inflation.

Process

Speaking to broadcasters at the G20 summit in New Delhi, there is a legal process which is worked through “every year to do benefits uprating and a whole host of other things”.

“And those decisions are announced at the autumn statement, that’s entirely normal,” he said.

As the Prime Minister sought to “reassure” those struggling with the cost of living, he pointed to the extra support already put in place to help with energy payments and other bills.

“So people should be reassured that that extra support is there for the most vulnerable in our society at a time which I know is difficult and that’s why we have to bring inflation down,” he said.

“That’s why my first in my five priorities is to halve inflation. That is the best way to help everyone with the cost of living.”

Benefits are usually raised in line with September’s consumer price index measure for inflation.

But reports suggested that Mr Hunt could point towards forecasts that inflation will be far lower in April, when the payments hike would come into effect.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 months ago

Sunak & Hunt Partners @Slash, Burn, Pillage and Plunder UK unLtd…

Are there any UK first team players at all in the Government or are we being totally pulled apart by the geopolitical forces that are the ‘black holes’ of the USA and India…

UK on a plate !

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

While he refuses to tax the obscene profits being made by big business. The fact that his policies hurt the most vulnerable in society means nothing to him and his cabal, as long as he keeps his party’s backers happy.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago

From 2010 onwards after the financial crash (credit crunch) and the Lib Dems enabling majority Tory government, we had the ‘scroungers’ narrative in the right wing press where tub thumping Tory supporters demanded the removal of benefits from lead swingers and chancers but it resulted in the removal of benefits from those who genuinely could not work and the same tub thumpers went silent when the news of countless resulting deaths was filtering out only to be swept under yet another carpet. So much for ‘look after your own’ as THEY, the tub thumpers, say. The stats of how many… Read more »

A.Redman
A.Redman
7 months ago

A commentator was describing pensioners as some of the wealthiest people around! Obviously he doesn’t live on 1.75 basic pension for 2?. These comments only go to reinforce the attitude of so many who are still employed and who may well have retired families that have state plus private pensions to live on!!!.
How many families across the UK received £400 who didn’t really need it?

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
7 months ago

It shows where the Tory priorites lie – winning at all costs – even at the expense of some of the poorest in our society. If you had put an X next to a Tory candidate at the last GE, or you plan to at the next, you should drop your head in shame.

Silenced!
Silenced!
7 months ago

Yup punish the poor for the crimes of his chums … AGAIN!
Honestly, this crowd are so hopeless I think they are TRYING to lose the election because they’ve stolen all the money already and are out of ideas. But Tory voters are so stupid, they keep voting from the incompetent clowns. So they sink ever lower, committing ever more despicable atrocities trying to get kicked out.

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