Liz Truss Says She Is "Completely Committed" To Retaining The Pensions Triple Lock
Liz Truss defended her decision to scrap her economic plans (Alamy)
Liz Truss has said pensions will increase in line with surging inflation after reports she was considering dumping the commitment.
The Prime Minister told MPs she was "completely committed" to retaining the triple lock, which sees state pensions increase by whatever higher between prices, average earnings or 2.5 per cent.
It comes after her official spokesperson said earlier this week the PM was "not making any commitments" around government spending, while Chancellor Jeremy Hunt suggested the policy could be reconsidered.
Pressed on the issue on Wednesday, she told the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford he "cannot take yes for an answer" as she insisted she was "completely committed" to retaining the triple lock.
“I’ve been clear we are protecting the triple lock," she added.
And speaking on Wednesday, her official spokesperson confirmed a "mutual decision" had been made by Truss and Hunt to retain the lock, saying they recognised "pensioners are in a unique position, unable to increase earnings through work".
But they refused to deny that Truss had overruled her Chancellor by making the commitment, saying: "I’m not getting into the minutiae of all the discussions ahead of the 31st…They make decisions on tax and spend jointly.”
But she failed to commit to raising benefits in line with inflation, which has now hit 10.1 per cent, saying only that her government "will always support the most vulnerable".
Speaking at her third Prime Minister's Questions since taking office, Truss defended her decision to U-turn on almost her entire mini-Budget saying she was acting in the "national interest".
In a fiery Commons session, Labour leader Keir Starmer repeatedly asked the Prime Minister if she was planning to step down following weeks of economic and political turmoil, saying: "What’s the point of a Prime Minister whose promises don’t even last a week?"
But Truss insisted she was willing to "front up" for the mistakes and take "difficult decisions" to support the economy.
She added: "Our policy is to protect the most vulnerable for two years. I had to take the decision... to adjust our policies."
"I am a fighter and not a quitter. I have acted in the national interest to make sure we have economic stability."
The Commons appearance is the first time Truss has faced questions from MPs since new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt dramatically tore up the majority of her tax-cutting plans following chaos in the UK markets.
The decision to shred Truss's economic agenda helped ease jitters in the financial markets, but has done little to calm suggestions from Conservative MPs that she will have to step down after a chaotic few weeks.
According to The Guardian, former cabinet minister Michael Gove said on Tuesday morning it was "absolutely right" that she would be forced to leave Downing Street.
"The question for any leader is: what happens when the programme or the platform on which you secured the leadership has been shredded," he reportedly said.
Meanwhile, one Conservative MP told PoliticsHome described her attempts to shore up support with members of the One Nation group of Tory moderates earlier this week as "the first time I have heard a corpse deliver its own eulogy".
The Downing Street crisis comes as the UK economy continues to struggle, with new figures from the Office for National Statistics showing inflation hit 10.1 per cent in the 12 months to September.
Speaking on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said surging inflation rates were "not where we want them to be".
"Nudging just over 10 per cent is something which will, understandably, be of great concern to a whole load of people that have mortgages or other kinds of borrowing," he told LBC.
"Obviously, what we want to do is we want to take action to bring those inflation figures down.
"But it's worth remembering that many of our international competitors and friends...are already seeing inflation figures considerably higher than that."
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