The future of the triple lock on the state pension is in jeopardy as Jeremy Hunt considers capping the size of the rise in pension payments in a bid to save almost £1bn.
Opposition politicians and campaigners for the elderly warned the government against adjusting the rules of the policy by calculating income increases lower than usual.
The state pension will rise faster than inflation next year under the triple lock, with its growth rate linked to average wage growth, inflation or 2.5 percent – whichever is higher.
Under normal rules it would rise by 8.5 per cent, reaching a value of £221.20 for the full new state pension. However, this figure is increased by a one-off payment made to many public sector workers over the summer to end the strike.
The Chancellor is still considering setting average earnings growth without bonuses at 7.8 percent. This would cost pensioners up to £1.45 a week or £75 a year, while saving around £900 million for the exchequer.
A final decision will be made in the weeks leading up to the autumn statement on November 22, after Mr Hunt sees the Office for Budget Responsibility’s detailed public finance forecasts.
Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokeswoman Wendy Chamberlain said: “Backing down on the triple lock would be another in a long list of callous broken promises from the Conservative Party. It reassures younger generations that they will have support as they age and gives retirees the money they need as energy and food costs rise.”
Caroline Abrahams, from Age UK, added: “From what we hear from older people, most believe the government promised them they would stick to the triple lockdown and that they should stick to it, not try should water down their promise.” The state pension was introduced to ensure older people had sufficient income to meet their basic needs later in life, but at the moment too many are struggling to afford a decent standard of living. “
And Independent Age’s Morgan Vine said: “The 2.1 million older people living in financial difficulty need every penny they can get.” Every day we hear from those who are eating just one meal a day or not using your heater. You can’t cut any more corners.”
A Downing Street spokesman said: “There is a process that Mel Stride will lead as pensions secretary and that process is ongoing.”
Source : inews.co.uk