Jill Sherman, the Whitehall editor of The Times, reports tomorrow that the government will not raise benefits in line with September’s inflation figures as normally happens. However, there’ll be no freeze in benefits. Instead, they’ll rise in line with a six month inflation average which stands at 4.5 percent rather than September’s 5.2 percent figure.
This move will save the government a little less than a billion pounds as pensions will be exempt from the move. I suspect that there’ll be objections to this shift from various quarters. But it is worth remembering that 4.5 percent is far larger than the pay rises most private sector workers will see while there’s a wage freeze in the public sector.
Sherman says that this billion of savings will be used to fund the abandonment of the 3p rise in fuel duty that is meant to kick in at the start of next year.