British Welfare Benefits Could Face Real-Terms Cut, Warns Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
In a recent statement, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak addressed concerns about the future of British welfare benefits, suggesting that a potential real-terms cut could be on the horizon. Sunak’s comments come amidst growing pressure from his own Conservative Party to lower taxes ahead of the general election.
Sunak sought to ease the worries of families who rely on benefits by assuring them that his priority was to protect the most vulnerable. This response came after Bloomberg reported that the government was considering a smaller increase than usual to welfare payments, hinting at potential cuts in the future.
One of the key factors influencing the government’s stance is the impact of higher interest rates, which have significantly reduced fiscal headroom. With limited financial flexibility, the government is now compelled to explore alternative avenues for savings.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, options currently being considered include deviating from the standard practice of aligning working benefits with inflation. This approach aims to provide Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt with greater flexibility to implement tax cuts in his upcoming spring budget.
During his visit to the G-20 summit in New Delhi, India, Sunak did not deny the reports, stating that benefits had already seen a substantial increase this year. He emphasized that benefits had risen by 10%, which equates to approximately £600 for a typical Universal Credit recipient and over £800 for individuals receiving state pensions.
Sunak also highlighted that the government has implemented various forms of support for the most economically disadvantaged individuals, including assistance with energy bills. He emphasized that there are multiple ways to provide aid to those in need.
The potential cuts to welfare benefits have sparked concerns among the general public, particularly among those who rely on these payments to make ends meet. Critics argue that reducing welfare support could exacerbate existing inequalities and place a heavier burden on vulnerable individuals and families.
As the government prepares for the fiscal statement on November 22, all eyes will be on the Chancellor of the Exchequer as he determines the future trajectory of welfare benefits. The decision regarding potential cuts will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the lives of many Britons, and will be a key topic of debate in the upcoming general election.
More detail via The Straits Times here… ( Image via The Straits Times )