Damian Green, the former work and pensions secretary, said Liz Truss has “probably not” got the support in the House of Commons to prevent an inflation-linked rise to benefits.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If people are already struggling, and many of these people will be, then making them struggle more is not a sensible response to the problems.
“I completely agree with the Prime Minister when she says you’ve got to see this in the round, but in the round it doesn’t make sense to give an extra £1,200 of help for energy bills to the poorest people in the country and then say but we’re going to claw hundreds of pounds of that back, it militates against the Government’s own rescue package, so I don’t see the sense of this.”
Asked if the PM could get a non-inflation-linked rise to benefits through the Commons, Mr Green said: “Probably not, I think that there will be many of my colleagues who think that when you’re reaching for spending cuts, benefit payments are not the way to do it.
“As I say, cutting the welfare bill can be done a number of ways, there are other ways to do that and of course it illustrates the wider political problem of where do you find cuts, the two biggest government budgets are health and welfare and it’s politically difficult to cut either of those budgets.”