The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation fell to -0.1% in the year to September, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has today announced. But this means the basic state pension will rise by at least 2.5% next April.
This is because of the Government's 'triple lock' guarantee, which states the basic state pension will rise by either 2.5%, by September's CPI figure or by average earnings, whichever figure is higher.
As the average earnings figure used for this calculation has yet to be announced, it means the state pension for women born before 6 April 1953 (so 62 or more) and men born before 6 April 1951 (so 64 or more) will rise by at least 2.5% next April. Pensioners currently get £115.95/week.
It's already been announced that the new flat-rate state pension system for women born on or after 6 April 1953 or men born on or after 6 April 1951 will be no less than £151.25/week, with the actual amount being set this autumn. This will also then increase in line with the 'triple lock' guarantee. See our State Pensions guide for more on this.
The Government is currently legislating to freeze most working age benefits, including jobseeker's allowance, income support and employment and support allowance, for the next four years from 2016/17. See our Millions to face benefit cuts MSE News story for more on this.
However some benefits, including disability living allowance, personal independence payment, carer's allowance and attendance allowance, are exempt from this freeze. Instead, these rise in line with prices and have traditionally increased with September's CPI.
But as these benefits cannot be downrated, and as this September's CPI is negative, it's unclear how much people will receive next April. The Government says it will announce 2016-17 benefit rates in "due course".
Use our Benefits Check-Up tool to find out if you're entitled to any help from the state.
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Inflation at or around 0.0% during 2015
September's CPI rate of -0.1% is a result of falling food and petrol prices, and a smaller than usual rise in clothing prices, according to the ONS. It fell from 0.0% in the year to August 2015 and has been at or around 0.0% for most of 2015.
The Retail Prices Index (RPI) rate of inflation, which unlike CPI includes housing costs, stood at 0.8% in the year ending September 2015, down from 1.1% in August 2015.