Downing Street has defended reinstating the triple lock on pensions while insisting that public sector workers receiving pay rises in line with inflation would further stoke rising costs.
However, a comment on social media has been singled out as a possible reason for the decision.
Adam Beinkov tweeted: “Boris Johnson’s government is trying to convince us that any pay rise above 3 per cent for public sector workers is “inflationary” while a 10 per cent increase for pensioners somehow isn’t.
“The only difference is that one group largely votes for them and the other group largely doesn’t.”
Would the government be that cynical?
There was a mixed response on social media with some people saying it was unfair to target pensioners.
Many also pointed out the MPs got a £2,212 pay rise on 1 April, seeing an MP’s basic salary go up to £84,144 a year.
It also comes as the Conservative government are looking to end pay limits of City bosses.
Richard Burgon MP tweeted: “So while telling ordinary people to accept cuts to their pay, the Tories are now looking to end pay limits on City bankers. These Tory hypocrites are mocking you.”
It comes after reports that the Cabinet Office minister wrote to the Chancellor with a plan for “deregulatory measures to reduce the overall burden on business” and attract more companies to the UK following Brexit, including scrapping restrictions on director and non-executive director remuneration.
Retirees are set to see double-digit payments increases next year as the state pension will be determined based on September’s CPI inflation.
Asked why state pensions will rise with inflation but not public sector pay, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Pensioners, particularly those who receive state pensions, are disproportionately impacted by high energy costs.
“They can’t always increase their incomes through work and they are more vulnerable to cost-of-living pressures”.
He noted the Government took “difficult decisions with regards to the triple lock, a temporary one-year suspension”.
Downing Street also denied its support for those hardest hit by the cost-of-living crisis will drive up soaring prices.
Asked if Boris Johnson is worried that any upcoming tax cuts and increasing national insurance thresholds are still the right way forward, if the Government wants to avoid inflationary factors, his spokesman said: “Generally we think this is not something that will be inflationary. The thresholds, obviously, do provide an uplift to people’s salary but again, it will help those most vulnerable the most.
“The measures we’ve introduced on cost of living, those who benefit most will be those who are hardest hit. So in those instances, we don’t think that helping those most in need during sort of a unique period is something that will drive up inflation.”
However, Downing Street insisted that “chasing inflation” with pay rises for public sector workers was not “feasible” as it would further fuel inflationary pressures.
The spokesman told reporters: “We think it would not be sensible and not be in these public sector workers’ best interests to chase inflation, cause inflation to spike further and in effect mean the money they take home is worth less.”
The Government does want public sector workers to get pay increases, the official insisted, with the exact levels to be recommended by pay review bodies over the summer months.
It comes as passengers faced chaos during the biggest rail strike in a generation, with unions calling for wages to keep up with spiralling costs.
Earlier, Mr Johnson and Rishi Sunak stressed the “importance of fiscal discipline” at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
“The Chancellor emphasised that the Government had responsibility to not take any action that would feed into inflationary pressures, or reduce the Government’s ability to lower taxes in the future,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman said.
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