Senior Peer warns the government to protect triple lock ahead of election
Failing to protect the pensions triple lock would be a “terrible indictment of our country”, a senior Peer has warned.
Lord Foulkes’ warning came as he laid down the gauntlet to all political parties to guarantee commitment ahead of next year’s expected general election.
Both Labour and the Conservatives are refusing to commit to including the triple lock in their manifestos.
The formula faces being changed in the next few weeks to save Rishi Sunak’s Government £600million.
The ultimatum comes as our crusade with Silver Voices calling on ministers to honour the triple lock was backed in a petition by more than 31,000 people.
Under the formula, pensions rise every year with inflation, average earnings or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.
Rishi Sunak is now considering altering the way the link to average earnings works.
To add your name to the petition, click here
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Pensioners would be handed an 8.5 per cent increase if the calculation is carried out in the same way it always has been since the lock was introduced.
But the Treasury is looking at whether to strip out the impact of public sector bonuses, which would reduce next April’s rise to 7.8 per cent.
Campaigners have this week warned against “underhand” tactics to get out of meeting the full guarantee to pensioners.
Sir Keir Starmer dodged calls to back the pledge this week, saying only that there would be a “fair and decent pension” if he becomes prime minister.
Lord George Foulkes, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ageing and Older People, said it was vital that the triple lock is protected.
Writing in the Daily Express he warns: “It would be a terrible indictment of our country, one of the richest in the world, if we made the poorest in our society the victims of the current economic crisis by abandoning the triple lock.
“We must fight to ensure all parties in the country keep this commitment in the run up to the General Election.”
Silver Voices director Dennis Reed said: “The massive surge in support for the Express/Silver Voices petition to save the Triple Lock is extremely gratifying but our campaign is only just starting.
“Today, we have urged our 6,000-plus members, if they have Conservative MP, to write to them expressing their disgust that the Government is thinking of breaking its manifesto promise by tampering with the Triple Lock formula.
“Millions rely on the basic state pension as their main source of income and to suggest that this tried and trusted formula should be scrapped in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis is cruel, unnecessary and will not be forgiven.Take heed Mr Sunak and confirm the full Triple Lock increase for 2024.”
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The former British Rail worker has health problems which require the help of four carers a day.
Crucially, the increase to his state pension over the last three years has allowed him to pay someone for an extra few hours of supplementary personal care and to do the domestic chores.
“It’s tight, but I can manage to pay for the help, obviously though that bill goes up each year as the person I pay needs a rise to keep up with inflation too,” said Mr Smith, a widower, who lives on his own in sheltered accommodation near Luton in Bedfordshire.
“This coming rise of 8.5 per cent – if the Government sticks to its promise and awards it – is based on the rise in earnings. My carers deserve their pay rise.”
Mr Smith has a small private pension which pushed him just over the threshold to qualify for Pension Credit, but he is by no means well off.
The father of two said: “Once I’ve paid for all my care costs and the bills, I’m left with just a few pounds each month.
“I fully support the Daily Express campaign to keep the triple lock, it’s marvellous of the newspaper to draw attention to the plight of the country’s pensioners.
“Everyone seems to think pensioners are well off and going on cruises all the time, but that’s just not the case. More old people are struggling to keep the wolf from the door.
“Also there seems to be an effort to divide the generations and pit young against old, but I don’t know a single son or daughter or grandchild who would want to see their elderly family members going cold because they can’t afford to heat their homes.”
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