Prime Minister unable to say whether autumn benefits rise will go ahead

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The prime minister may or may not see the cut in actual terms to benefit claimants as a cost-saving measure this autumn.

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Liz Truss told broadcasters that Work and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith would make an announcement “in due course” about whether benefits would be increased in line with inflation this autumn.

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The report comes as the Treasury has asked departments across the government to cut efficiency savings, or cuts, into their current budgets after the economic turmoil caused by mini-budgets.

The move is aimed at easing future government borrowing after Chancellor Quasi Quarteng’s fiscal statement last Friday stirred the market.

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In terms of increasing the benefits, this is something that the Secretary for Work and Pensions is looking at and she will make an announcement in due course as usual.

Asked by broadcasters in Kent what the uptick would be, Ms Truss said: “The biggest part of the package we announced was support for families on energy as well as making sure we reversed the national insurance increase.

“In terms of increasing the benefits, this is something that the Secretary for Work and Pensions is looking at and she will make an announcement in due course like normal practice for the autumn.”

Pressed by reporters for more details, the prime minister said: “As I said this is something that the Secretary for Work and Pensions is looking at.

“What is important to me is that we are fair in our decisions, but most importantly, we help families and businesses with their energy prices during this difficult time.

“I had a real fear that businesses might go out of business this winter because they weren’t facing energy bills.

“We made a business plan, we did support for families across the country. It cost us money but it was important that we acted quickly.

Earlier this week, media reports suggested the Treasury would write to cabinet ministers asking them to save within their current departmental budget.

Asked about the cuts, Treasury Minister Chris Phillip said: “We’re going to look for capacity wherever we can find them.”

He said the aim of the exercise would be to ensure that the government stays within its current three-year spending limit.

Credit: www.standard.co.uk /

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