Pensions triple lock scrapped for millions of Brits
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At the last election the Conservatives promised state pensions would rise each year in line with inflation, earnings or 2.5 percent, whichever is highest. However, in light of the pandemic, ministers today abandoned the promise.
There have been fears the Covid crisis has distorted earnings, with an increase of eight percent expected by April next year.
Under the triple lock, the eight percent increase would mean the Government needing to give an extra £746.20 per pensioner each year.
The Treasury is already grappling with how to bring down the record huge level of debt racked up during the pandemic.
Almost £300billion were borrowed by the Government in the 2020-21 financial year, the highest level since World War 2.
The state pension triple lock has been suspended for a year (Image: PA)
It means the UK now owes debt of more than £2.2trillion.
Speaking in the Commons, Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey announced for the year 2022-23 pensions would rise by 2.5 percent or inflation, whichever is higher.
Inflation is tipped to rise by 3.1 percent for the 2021-22 tax year.
The announcement is the second manifesto pledge to be broken by the Conservatives in a single day after Boris Johnson earlier announced he was hiking up national insurance.
In 2019 the Tories promised: “We will not raise the rate of income tax, VAT or national insurance.”
Mr Johnson earlier admitted to MPs that he was reluctant to have had to break the promises.
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Thérèse Coffey admitted the triple lock would be suspended for one year (Image: PARLIAMENT.TV)
Thérèse Coffey said she would introduce a new Bill on the law change tomorrow (Image: PARLIAMENT.TV)
He said: “No Conservative Government ever wants to raise taxes and I will be honest with the House, yes, I accept that this breaks a manifesto commitment, which is not something I do lightly.
“But a global pandemic was in no-one’s manifesto and I think the people of this country understands that in their bones and they can see the enormous steps this Government and the Treasury have taken.
While Tory MPs are uneasy about breaking the triple lock commitment on the triple lock, Express.co.uk understands most are willing to back the temporary suspension, accepting the pandemic has created unforeseen circumstances.
Addressing MPs, Ms Coffey said the suspensions were necessary to stop pensioners getting a better deal than the rest of the public.
Boris Johnson admitted he was disappointed to need to abandon manifesto pledges (Image: PARLIAMENT.TV)
She said: “At a time when we have made tough decisions to restore the public finances which have impacted working people, such as freezing income tax personal thresholds at current levels, this would not be fair.”
Promising the triple lock would return next year, she added: “We can and will apply the triple lock as usual from next year for the remainder of this Parliament, in line with our manifesto commitment.”
Announcing a vote on the issue, Ms Coffey said: “Tomorrow, I will introduce a Social Security Uprating and Benefits Bill for 2022-23 only.
“It will ensure the basic and new state pensions increase by 2.5% or in line with inflation which is expected to be the higher figure this year.”