Mind responds to comments by Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Chancellor about uprating benefits
On Wednesday 28 September, when asked on ITV’s ‘Peston’ if this was still UK government policy, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Chris Philp, suggested this may no longer be the case. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, was also reported on 29 September to have refused to confirm the increase would go ahead.
Responding to the comments, Vicki Nash, Associate Director of Policy, Campaigns and Public Affairs at Mind, said:
“Earlier this year, Mind welcomed the then Chancellor’s assurance in Parliament that benefits would be increased in line with inflation in 2023. Comments to the media by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the new Chancellor, which suggest that uprating benefits is no longer a UK government commitment, are deeply worrying.
“Any move by UK government to inflict a brutal cut in practice to the incomes of people who receive benefits during the worst cost of living crisis in a generation would simply be cruel. It would plunge thousands of people, many of whom have mental health problems, into financial chaos. People will struggle to eat or heat their homes, or be forced to turn to short-term fixes, such as borrowing, which will only make their financial problems worse in the long run.
“Instead of rowing back on a promise to provide people with the income they need to get by, the UK government should be bringing forward the benefits increase to right now. People who receive benefits need, at the very least, enough to live on – it’s as simple as that. When the cost of living rises, benefits must too.”
“The UK government wants to stimulate economic growth. To do that, people need to have some money left in their pockets to spend. We hope to see Chloe Smith, the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, confirm as soon as possible that benefits will indeed be raised in line with inflation.