Tory plans to make work pay more difficult

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Tory plans to make work pay more difficult

Jeremy Hunt said tougher rules on benefits and a rise in the national living wage would form part of a Tory plan to get more people into work.

The Chancellor will use his speech at the conservative party conference to promise that the national living wage will increase to at least £11 an hour from April.

But alongside that he will look again at the benefit sanctions regime to make it harder for people to claim welfare while failing to take 'active steps' to move into work, with proposals due to be set out in November's Autumn Statement.

The plans to make work pay come as the Tory party is embroiled in a row over tax policy, with Cabinet minister Michael Gove pushing for cuts before the election to help working households.

Mr Hunt has argued that tax cuts in the Autumn Statement are unlikely, with the focus on reducing inflation, but the Tories are likely to have a full budget in the spring before any election in 2024, which could provide an opportunity for a giveaway to woo voters.

Gillian Keegan, Education Secretary, is putting forward plans to ban mobile phones from classrooms in England, with a source saying the devices pose a serious challenge in terms of distraction, disruptive behaviour and bullying.

Former prime minister Liz Truss will call for tax cuts, fracking and measures to boost housebuilding in a bid to put pressure on Rishi Sunak from the Tory Party.

Kemi Badenoch, seen as a potential successor to Sunak, will use her conference speech to stress her Brexiteer credentials and accuse critics of seeking to talk down the UK.

The main speech will be from Mr Hunt, who will confirm plans to increase the wages of the least paid on the second day of the Manchester conference.

The Liberals said the move will benefit two million people and follow the target for the national living wage to reach two-thirds of median hourly pay by October next year.

The Low Pay Commission estimates that the rate needed to meet that goal should be between £10.90 and $11.43 with a central estimate of £11.16.

The increase will mean that the national living wage will increase by more than 1,000 pounds for a full-time worker next year.

The Ministers, Mr Hunt and Mr Stride, are expected to use November's Autumn Statement to set out tough welfare reforms.

s a ladder everyone can climb but also a safety net below which no-one falls, Mr Hunt said.

It is a social contract that demands fairness to those in work alongside compassion to those who are not, he said.

For the first time, you can earn a salary of £1,000 a month, without paying a penny of tax or national insurance.

But since the pandemic, things have been going in the wrong direction. Despite difficulties in finding workers, around 100,000 people are leaving the job every year for a life on benefits.

We will look at the way the sanctions regime works, he said. Keegan is expected to announce the ban on mobile phones in an eventful speech at her conference.

Some schools have already banned the devices but Ms Keegan said it was expected to order them to outlaw phones at both times during lessons and during breaks.

On the fringe of the conference, Ms Truss will address a rally with a focus on boosting growth - a key theme of her short-lived premiership a year ago.

''S stop taxing and banning things, and start producing and building things''.