RISHI Sunak today fanned fears that Britain is teetering on recession as he defended giving pensioners a bigger pay rise than workers.
The Chancellor insisted his plan to hand oldies a 10 per cent bump will not plunge the economy further into inflation hell.
It is almost double the increase millions of workers like teachers and nurses can expect when public sector wages are reviewed.
Mr Sunak warned that hiking up worker pay would only send prices higher and is expected to offer only a modest 5 per cent rise.
He said: “It’s right that we reward our hard-working public sector workers with a pay rise, but that needs to be proportionate and balanced with the need not to make the inflationary pressures worse and also to see what’s affordable for the taxpayer.
“The slight difference with pensions is that pensions are not input costs into the cost of producing goods and services that we all consume, so they don’t add to inflation in the same way.”
New stats today showed inflation shot up to 9.1 per cent – and is set to bust double digits by the autumn.
The triple lock means pensions either go up by inflation, wages or 2.5 per cent, whatever is highest.
Mr Sunak also failed to rule out Britain tumbling into a recession as growth slows.
He said “forecasters will make their predictions” and vowed to cushion Brits from the cost of living onslaught with support.
He has already committed almost £40billion to help people with rising bills.
But Mr Sunak is resisting calls to cut taxes to put more take-home cash in people’s pockets.
Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “Today’s rising inflation is another milestone for people watching wages, growth and living standards continue to plummet.
“Though rapid inflation is pushing family finances to the brink, the low wage spiral faced by many in Britain isn’t new.”
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