‘It is fair!’ Business Secretary says state pension triple lock will remain to aid Britons
Rishi Sunak grilled by Neil on state pension increases
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Under the State Pension triple lock, the sum rises each year by the highest of three factors: average wages, inflation or 2.5 percent. It has been estimated by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) that there will be an eight percent rise to the state pension in the coming year. This appears to be as a result of warped wages data, where significant numbers of people have got back into work following the pandemic.
With an eight percent rise significantly above previous increases to the state pension sum, some have questioned whether this is feasible.
Speculation has increased as to whether the state pension Triple Lock policy will be scrapped in future.
And the debate came to a head once again on GB News this morning, when presenter Tom Harwood spoke to Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng.
Mr Kwarteng said: “The state pension triple lock has been subject to debate – but we’ve been committed to keeping it under the manifesto, and that is what we are doing.
“Pensioners have spent their whole lives contributing to society and contributing to our wellbeing through taxes.
“I think it is fair to treat them decently. The triple lock is what it is, and we are totally committed to delivering it.”
However, presenter Tom Harwood questioned the idea of significant rises to the state pension.
He pressed the Business Secretary on the idea of wages rising for two consecutive years, therefore providing even further bumper increases for the state pension.
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The Business Secretary responded: “There is no point in getting into hypotheticals. If you look at the Covid response, that was an extreme situation and we came up with furlough and other policies.
“So, in a situation you’ve described, we would definitely respond in an exceptional way.
“What I am saying is that we have the triple lock, it is in the manifesto, and there are no plans to unpick that.”
Another proposition which has been put forward by economists, and indeed one which was raised on GB News, relates to tweaking the Triple Lock rather than obliterating it entirely.
It has been suggested a smoother rise could be implemented, or the policy simply modified to relate only to inflation.
But Mr Kwarteng once again suggested the triple lock would be fulfilled as a promise by the Government in the future.
The GB News presenter went on to push back on the assertions made by the Business Secretary.
He drew in another strand of the argument which relates to the matter of intergenerational fairness when it comes to state pension rises.
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Mr Harwood appeared to assert a bumper rise to state pensions required the young to make sacrifices in order to protect the old – an issue, he said, cropped up throughout the pandemic.
He went on to ask whether the Conservative Party was gearing its policy towards older people due to the perception it is this age group which helps the current Government most with votes.
Mr Kwarteng refuted this notion, instead stating the Conservative Party has garnered votes from all sections of society with its policies.
But the Business Secretary did acknowledge the idea of intergenerational fairness and discussing it going forward.
Mr Harwood concluded: “The Government seems to be set up to tip the balance in the way this country runs against the next generation.
“If you have a policy that sets pension increases off the benefits of average wage increases, and wages have an anomalous year, then it completely offsets the balance of everything.”
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