For ministers to cast doubt on full benefit uprating after latest inflation figures is unacceptable
Responding to today's latest CPI inflation rate, 6.7%, JRF Chief Economist Alfie Stirling said:
“The September inflation rate of 6.7% published today is the one government is expected to use to uprate benefits next April. For ministers to cast doubt on whether they will deliver this uprating in full is unacceptable. Millions of families need the certainty that benefit payments will begin to recover some of the significant real terms losses suffered over the past two years, and they need that certainty now.
“As families continue to struggle with rapidly rising prices, this crisis is also evolving in new and dangerous ways. Not only are people now struggling to cope with the direct impacts of higher interest rates themselves, as credit cards, overdrafts and bank loans all become more expensive, but the wider economic slowdown in the jobs market is beginning to bite. The latest data suggests unemployment has risen faster in the past two months than the Bank of England had predicted for the entire coming year, with workers in typically lower paying and less secure sectors at greatest risk.
“The government is treating our vital income support system, and the millions of lives it affects, as a political football. This is yet another reason why we need an Essentials Guarantee, where we move to a protected minimum level of support across all benefits that guarantees everyone, at the very least, can afford the basic essentials.”