Morrison refuses to consider Newstart lift

Scott Morrison insists there's no room in the budget to increase the Newstart payment.
Scott Morrison insists there's no room in the budget to increase the Newstart payment.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison insists better-than-expected budget figures have not shifted his thinking on leaving the Newstart payment at its existing rate.

The jobless allowance has been going backwards in real terms for 25 years and has been described by critics as "unnecessarily cruel", but Mr Morrison argues his focus is on getting people into work.

He says while financial figures released this week show the economy at its strongest point in a decade, the country is still $10 billion in deficit.

"I don't think you can all of a sudden go 'oh, let's make whoopee'," he told ABC radio on Wednesday.

"It is a very expensive undertaking and there is not the room in the budget at this point to do that."

Australian Associated Press