Rebecca McDonald, Chief Economist for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation responded to news that CPI inflation for September was at 10.1%
The Chancellor has pledged to protect the most vulnerable and promised to act with compassion. With inflation running at over ten per cent, he could and should confirm today that the government will uprate benefits in line with this figure to ensure that the incomes of the poorest do not fall because of a Government decision. The Government should bring the increases forward to provide reassurance as soon as possible over the winter.
The cost of living has millions fearing for the future, with the price of food rising faster than at any point since 1980. Any certainty they once had is now in jeopardy. This Government surely cannot wish to be remembered for withholding either cash or stability from families when the basic rate of benefits is already at its lowest in real terms for 40 years - and prices are bringing fear and alarm to millions. The majority of the public believe that benefits need to be uprated in line with inflation.
It is morally indefensible that the government should still be considering leaving people with even less ability to pay for what they need, when their own party pledged to make sure the value of benefits keeps up with prices only months ago. The Chancellor has it in his power to assuage the fears of millions, by confirming today that benefits will be uprated in full and ahead of April.