PMQs: Rishi Sunak refuses to commit to raising benefits and pensions in line with inflation

Rishi Sunak dodged the question on benefits and pensions from the SNP's Ian Blackford

Rishi Sunak at the House of Commons despatch box at PMQs

The prime minister Rishi Sunak has refused to commit to raising benefits in line with inflation or maintaining the triple lock on pensions. Sunak was pressed on these issues at this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons.

The SNP’s leader in the House of Commons Ian Blackford asked Sunak, “Will he keep his promise and lift benefits and pensions in line with inflation?”

Sunak refused to make that commitment. He replied by saying, “We do now have an excellent new chancellor and I’m looking forward to his autumn statement in a couple of weeks. It wouldn’t be right to comment on individual policy measures before then. But I think everyone knows we do face a challenging economic outlook and difficult decisions will have to be made.”

Blackford used his second question to press Sunak on this again. He said, “For the second week running, he still won’t give a straight answer to the most vulnerable that require support. The prime minister keeps telling us that difficult decisions need to be made. But austerity 2.0 isn’t a difficult decision. It is what it has always been: A Tory political choice to hit the poorest hardest.

“In the week that BP saw quarterly profits of £7.1 billion, why not take the easy decision to bring in a proper windfall tax? Why not take the easy decision to reinstate the cap on bankers’ bonuses? Why not take the easy decision to scrap the non-dom tax avoidance? And with all that new revenue, why not stand up today and take the easiest decision of all – to protect those most in need and increase benefits and pensions in line with inflation?”

Sunak again refused to answer the question – instead commenting on his support for North Sea oil and gas.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

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