Spring Statement: Rachel Reeves responds to Sunak’s plan
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The Chancellor set out his plans to help ease the cost of living crisis today when he gave an update on the state of the economy to MPs. He admitted the global outlook was “challenging” and that there would be tough times ahead but pledged to make sure “the proceeds of growth are shared fairly”.
He cut fuel duty by 5p, raised the threshold at which workers start paying national insurance by £3,000, and promised to slash income tax in 2024.
However, charities and campaigners have lashed out at the Chancellor’s failure to announce any measures to ease the financial pain of the elderly.
Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation, said: “Pensioners are getting stuffed this year with no help – because they largely don’t pay national insurance and state pension is rising far more slowly than prices.”
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, added: “Older people tell us that every time they go shopping the prices seem to have gone up again, and that’s really tough to manage if you’re reliant on a meagre pension.
“Unfortunately, for older people like these, and younger ones on low incomes too, the next few months threaten to be extremely stressful, as they struggle to continue to make ends meet.”
Last year the Chancellor announced he was suspending the state pension triple lock promised in the Tory manifesto for 2022-23.
Instead, the state support would increase by 3.1 percent.
The triple lock guarantees payments will rise by the highest out of inflation, average earnings or 2.5 percent each year.
Last autumn was suspended for 12 months because average earnings were set to soar by eight percent due to an anomaly caused by the furlough scheme.
But inflation has now hit a 30 year high of 6.2 percent.
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It means the 3.1 percent promised rise will leave pensioners considerably worse off in real terms.
Campaigners had been hoping Mr Sunak would reinstate the triple lock with immediate effect when he gave his statement in the House earlier today.
Seizing on the opportunity to criticise the Chancellor, Labour’s shadow pensions secretary, Jon Ashworth, said: “Nothing from Rishi Sunak on future of pension triple lock today.
“Instead he’s pushing ahead with real terms cuts to basic state pension.
“Pensioners simply can’t trust the Conservatives.”
He added: “Rishi Sunak has today confirmed he is imposing punishing and severe real terms cuts to vital support like Universal Credit and basic state pension.
“He’s utterly out of touch as to how devastating this cost of living crisis.”
The Conservatives have pledged to restore the triple lock next year.
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