Michael Gove says ‘people want reassurance’ from Liz Truss
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The UK is arriving on the other side of the recent pound crisis, which saw Sterling collapse to an all-time low of $1.03 last week. The currency has corrected to $1.14 as of October 4, reclaiming a level not seen since September 16. But Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng now face a Conservative rebellion over an unclarified position on benefits.
What are Liz Truss’ plans for benefits?
Ms Truss has confirmed that her Government will follow plans laid out by Boris Johnson and reactivate the pension triple lock.
The measure’s reintroduction means pensions will rise with inflation, but the Prime Minister did not guarantee the same for benefits.
She insisted those on benefits are in a “different situation” to retirees.
When asked by LBC news this morning whether she would raise benefits, she told the radio programme pensioners receive a “fixed income” that is “hard to adjust”.
Speaking about benefits, Ms Truss said she wanted to “make sure that we are helping more people into work”.
Mr Johnson had previously ruled that benefits would rise with inflation, but the new Prime Minister refused to say whether she would keep the policy.
The Government is yet to put funding proposals for its £46 billion tax cut through Parliament, with fears that cuts to public spending may be among options on the table.
In response to questions on the future of UK benefits, Ms Truss has pledged her Government would be “fiscally responsible” and focus on bringing debt down.
Without a concrete answer from the PM, other Cabinet members have provided unequivocal responses to the question on benefits.
Penny Mordaunt, the Leader of the House of Commons, publicly backed Mr Johnson’s arrangement in an interview with Times Radio.
She told the broadcaster the Conservatives want to “make sure people are looked after”.
Ms Mordaunt said: “I’ve always supported – whether it’s pensions, whether it’s our welfare system – keeping pace with inflation.
“It makes sense to do so. That’s what I voted for before.”
She added: “We want to make sure that people are looked after and that people can pay their bills.
“We are not about trying to help people with one hand and take away with another.”
Ms Truss has responded to Ms Mordaunt’s comments with promises for future discussions on the benefits system.
During a visit to a Birmingham construction site, she said the Government has “not yet made that decision” on benefits but pledged to “discussions about the way forward”.
Conservative colleagues have warned the Prime Minister that a misstep on public spending policy could land her in hot water.
Speaking to the I Paper, an anonymous MP said a “big hole” in Kwasi Kwarteng’s growth plan “needs to be filled” and “will be the subject of intense scrutiny”.
A former minister told the paper that welfare cuts, “£40bn borrowing or (tax and energy) giveaways” would not make it through the party’s Parliamentary ranks.
A future rebellion over welfare cuts would be the second of Ms Truss’ premiership.
The Prime Minister and Mr Kwarteng were recently forced by colleagues to backtrack on a planned 45p income tax rate bonfire.
Before their intervention, the Government wanted to adjust the rate, saving the UK’s highest earners – with salaries more than £150,000 – an additional £10,000 per year.
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