Nick Ferrari challenges Tory Party Chairman to raise benefits in line with inflation

6 October 2022, 08:56

Nick challenges Tory Party Chairman to raise benefits in line with inflation

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Conservative Party chairman Jake Berry said the Government needs to wait until inflation figures are available to make a decision on uprating benefits this autumn.

The conversation comes as Prime Minister Liz Truss comes under pressure from Tory MPs to ensure benefits rise in line with prices, with Minister Penny Mordaunt arguing it "makes sense".

Speaking to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC Mr Berry said: "The Government must make a decision based on facts. The situation with benefits is that some benefits as a matter of law are uprated in line with inflation, and other benefits... it is a decision of the Government. They do tend to be those out-of-work benefits to which you refer.

"But the inflation figures that are used are the inflation figures for the autumn. The Government actually doesn't have those figures at the moment.

Read more: Millions of families set to pay extra £21billion of income taxes despite talks of 'cutting taxes' mini-budget

"So rather than people asking us... rather than people expecting us to guess, we've got to wait until those figures are available, at which point the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Chancellor will decide how those benefits should be uprated, that will come to the Cabinet, and they will be discussed and a decision will be announced in due course.

"You simply cannot make a decision on figures you do not currently have."

Former PM Boris Johnson pledged benefits would rise with inflation.

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng said he would not "get drawn into the debate", but stressed his attachment to "compassionate conservatism"; while Work and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith would not be drawn.

The Chancellor said at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event he was "not going to get drawn into a debate about what we are going to do on benefits", but said ministers must look after the most vulnerable.

Liz Truss promises ‘growth, growth, growth’ and to ‘always be fiscally responsible’

Read more: Liz Truss hits out at 'anti-growth coalition' in make-or-break Tory party conference speech

Read more: Conservatives must show a united front to win election, Tory MP tells Andrew Marr

Mr Berry also said the Tories' plan for growth is not like writing an "A-level economics essay".

He suggested it was right for the conversation to move on from the "5%" the public said they were "unhappy with" to the remaining "95%".

He told Nick: "We have a plan to grow our economy so businesses can take that next step and invest, and the reason we want businesses to do that isn't just some academic exercise ... sort of writing an A-level economics essay. I must admit I didn't do economics at A level. But it isn't ... like that, it's about transforming the lives of people in this country.

"So, the reason we want businesses to succeed is so your listeners at home can get a pay rise, so they can have more cash in their pocket.

"They'll see the start of that this month when their payslip drops through the letterbox and they will see that the Prime Minister and our Government has already given every single working person in this country a cut in their national insurance, and next year they'll see a cut in the basic rate of income tax, and that's what this Government is about."

Read more: Liz Truss's conference speech in full

Read more: "Who voted for this?" Greenpeace protesters disrupt PM's speech as she tells security 'let's get them removed'

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