PRIME Minister Rishi Sunak is set to raise benefits in-line with inflation, in a huge win for some of the poorest in society.
The move is a win for Politicalite and our readers – as we have been calling on the Government to ease the squeeze and raise benefits in line with inflation to help “level up” the UK.
The move would be popular – with 67% backing Benefits increasing inline with inflation in a Politicalite poll of 1,060 people last month.
The Prime Minister and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are considering imposing up to £60 billion in tax rises and spending cuts in the autumn budget on November 17 to plug the public finances – and some of the money will be used to help the less well off.
Treasury sources insisted no decisions have been taken, but did not deny a report in the Times stating they would avoid real-terms cuts on pensions and benefits.
The move could cost a combined £11 billion next year but would prevent a rebellion from some Tory MPs and avert at least some criticism of the challenging decisions being unfair.
Members of Mr Sunak’s Cabinet including Michael Gove have previously warned against going back on the manifesto commitment of maintaining the pensions “triple lock” as inflation soars past 10%.
But with Mr Hunt considering up to £35 billion of the “fiscal tightening” any extra spending would leave more severe savings and higher tax hikes required elsewhere.
The Chancellor was understood to be considering a stealth raid on inheritance tax by extending a freeze on the inheritance tax “nil-rate band” from 2025-27 to 2027-28.
The Financial Times, which first reported the plans, said the move could raise at least half a billion pounds for the Treasury.
US GAS DEAL
He is also understood to be considering a major gas deal with the US after returning from the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt.
The Daily Telegraph said an “energy security partnership” would see Britain sold billions of cubic metres of liquefied natural gas over the coming year.
Downing Street sources, however, suggested that no deal is imminent, meaning it is unclear how much of the gas would be in the UK for this winter.
Fresh supplies would reduce the risk of blackouts as the Russian invasion of Ukraine causes energy shortages.
Business Secretary Grant Shapps hinted on Monday that the windfall tax on oil and gas giants could be expanded to ease the burden on taxpayers.
“I think that might be a clever way of asking me what’s in the autumn statement again, but we will be setting that out, the Chancellor will be setting that out, very shortly,” he told Sky News.