Sunak promises fairness but refuses to commit to the triple lock

Furious OAP rages at triple lock broken promise

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The Prime Minister said he is working through “difficult decisions” with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ahead of the autumn statement next month.

He has refused to commit to sticking with the formula that would give state pensioners a 10 percent hike. Thousands of people signed up to a petition organised by the Daily Express and Silver Voices calling for the lock to be protected in the November 17 debt reduction plan.

Uncertainty over its future first arose after Mr Hunt was appointed Chancellor but then Prime Minister Liz Truss overruled him to say it would remain in place.

The lock was thrown into doubt again after Downing Street refused to confirm it still stands after Mr Sunak entered No 10. The Treasury is believed to be looking for up to £50 billion of savings and tax hikes to fill the blackhole in its coffers.

Mr Sunak said yesterday he was “confident” the government can rectify the “mistakes” made under Liz Truss’s leadership, as he focused on bringing down inflation and limiting rises in interest rates.

“The Chancellor has already said of course difficult decisions are going to have to be made and I’m going to sit down and work through those with him,” he said during a visit to Croydon University Hospital in south London.

“But what I want everyone to know is that we need to do these things so that we can get our borrowing and debt back on a sustainable path.

“That’s important because it means that we can get a grip of inflation. If we do that, it means we can limit as best as possible the increase in interest rates, which is important.

“But as we do that, I want people to be reassured, we will always do it with fairness at the heart, we will protect the most vulnerable and ensure that we can continue to grow the economy in the long run.”

The financial figures are not expected to be finalised until Mr Sunak and Mr Hunt receive the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

A Treasury source said: “Markets have calmed somewhat, but the picture remains grim. After borrowing and spending hundreds of billions of pounds due to Covid-19 and for energy bills support, there is a massive fiscal black hole to fill.

“People should not underestimate the scale of this challenge, or how tough the decisions will have to be. We’ve seen what happens when governments ignore this reality.”

The triple lock pegs state pension increases to the highest of 2.5 percent, wages rises or inflation. Inflation hit 10.1 percent in September, the month traditionally used to work out next April’s rise.

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