Truss refuses to rule out real terms benefits cuts

The prime minister refused to announce a real-term cut in benefits payments, despite being under pressure from the market to reduce medium term borrowing.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme this morning, Truss said, “I do think we need to recognise first of all that people are struggling and it is a difficult time.  I have every sympathy with people who are facing increased bills whether it’s on food whether it’s on housing whether it’s on energy”.

However when pressed as to whether the government would increase benefits in line with inflation, Truss was non committal saying, “What we are doing is looking at these issues very carefully and that is an announcement that will be made in due course”.

Although citing her recent energy announcement, Truss said that she was “very committed to supporting the most vulnerable”, the prime minister also said, “We are going to have to make decisions about how we bring back down debt as a proportion of GDP in the medium term.”


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In May this year, then-chancellor Rishi Sunak said benefits would be up-rated by this September’s Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation.

The chancellor yesterday also declined to commit to the up-rating of benefits in line with inflation, albeit the government has given a commitment to do so on pensions, thereby maintaining the so called ‘tripple lock’.

Following the announcement that plans were to reverse the planned abolition the 45p rate income tax, it now appears like the next political showdown for government.

The Conservative MP Mel Stride, who chairs the Commons Treasury Committee, said it would be “a really tough call to make” if he was asked to vote for uprating benefits in line with wages rather than inflation.

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “The idea that the government can afford to give tax cuts to the wealthiest, but not up-rate benefits in line with inflation, I think is grotesque.”