Iain Duncan Smith calls for benefits to be boosted in line with inflation
The former Conservative Party leader told GB News the Government has the budget to boost benefits
Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has called for benefits to be boosted in line with inflation to protect the public from mounting living costs.
The MP says the use of rebates and discretionary funds represent “a step in the wrong direction for tackling poverty.”
It comes after Boris Johnson said he cannot “magic away” all the soaring food and energy expenses, as he came under increasing pressure to alleviate the cost-of-living crisis.
The Government is already handing out £150 council tax rebates for many homes and will take £200 off energy bills from October. But campaigners say this will not be enough for many people.
The former Conservative Leader told Nana Akua on GB News the Government has the budget to boost benefits.
“You need to lower and actually assist those on benefits. It won’t lead to extra debt. The Government has the head room.
“Two years running they’ve outperformed their own forecasts by 91 and 90 billion respectively better than they were expected to be two years ago. This is money that can be used for this purpose.”
In its report, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) – a think tank founded by Sir Iain in 2004 - says the Government should consider reviewing the rate of benefits quarterly, rather than annually, at least as long as the “current period of unusual inflationary pressure” lasts.
The think tank says the first increase should come at the end of June.
It claims that bringing UC in line with inflation would see over four million households gain an average of £729 extra support to stave off the cost-of-living crisis over the coming year.
As part of its package of recommendations, the CSJ is also calling for an increase to UC work allowances, which would provide “an effective tax cut” for 1.66 million poorer, working households, worth £733 million, or on average £442 each.
The CSJ also wants the Government to suspend UC debt repayments for six months and forgive historical debts “born of design issues in the legacy benefits system”.
In addition, environmental levies should be absorbed into general taxation, and the energy price cap should be reviewed quarterly rather than every six months “to avoid cliff-edges in prices”, it said.