| 24 February 2024, Saturday |

UK PM Truss commits to pension spending policy, no comment on benefits, foreign aid

On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Liz Truss stated that she was committed to increase state pensions in line with inflation, but she failed to provide the same commitment for welfare payments and foreign aid.

Truss has been compelled to seek major expenditure cutbacks after the prime minister’s now-cancelled economic plan wrecked investor confidence in the British government and drove borrowing rates skyrocketing.

Truss’s new finance minister, Jeremy Hunt, dismantled Truss’s economic policy on Monday, and said then that he could not commit to raising state retirement payments in line with inflation in April as had been expected.

Asked if Truss had ditched the policy, known as the triple lock, because it increases publicly funded pensions by the highest of earnings, inflation or 2.5%, she told the House of Commons on Wednesday she remained fully committed to it.

“We have been clear in our manifesto that we will maintain the triple lock, and I am completely committed to it, so is the chancellor (finance minister),” she told parliament.

Asked if the same reassurance could be given for welfare benefit payments, Truss said the country had helped the poorest by providing energy subsidies and that it would always help the most vulnerable.

Asked about the country’s foreign aid budget, Truss said more details would be set out in due course.

Britain cut a long-standing policy of spending 0.7% of economic output on foreign aid during the pandemic, reducing it to 0.5%.

  • Reuters