Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has sought clarification from the UK Government over whether benefits will rise in line with inflation.
Prime Minister Liz Truss has refused to rule out real terms benefit cuts, claiming it would be ‘fiscally responsible”. Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong has now written to Minister for Work and Pensions Chloe Smith to seek clarification.
“The annual benefits increase takes effect each April, based on the Consumer Price Index’s rate of inflation. The previous increase was 3.1 per cent and the UK Government has said previously that rate would be used on an annual basis,” she said.
“Therefore benefits would need to be increased in line with inflation, which is estimated around nine per cent. If Chloe Smith and Liz Truss take a different approach to their predecessors, money will literally be taken away from those on the lowest incomes, all the while allowing higher bonuses to bankers.
“That would be an appalling move in this day and age, and would see more people living below the breadline in poverty. I await the Minister’s response and hope the Government decides to not take a further towards the Dickensian society we are heading to.”