Liberal Democrats will keep Pensions Triple Lock – Cable

Theresa May has been reticent about whether the Conservatives will commit to keeping the pensions triple lock which was introduced by then Liberal Democrat pensions minister Steve Webb.

Today, the Liberal Democrats are committing to keep it for the duration of the next Parliament.

Vince Cable explains why:

Liberal Democrats believe that an important test of a civilised society is the way in which it cares for the elderly. We will protect the Triple Lock unlike the Conservatives.

The guiding principle of the pensions system must be to ensure that none are left unable to meet their basic needs for survival and participation in society, and that everyone is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

A Lib Dem Pensions Minister introduced the triple lock guarantee to protect the state pension during Coalition. We delivered on our manifesto commitment to increase the Basic State Pension by whatever is highest out of CPI inflation, average earnings or 2.5%.

This means that by 2021, the State Pension will be worth £15 a week more than it is now.

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52 Comments

  • I seem to recall just last year Nick Clegg and other Lib Dems calling for an end to the Triple Lock.

  • David Becket 7th May '17 - 9:53am

    Considering the potential state of the economy and the feeling that richer pensioners are getting away with murder this is a dangerous policy. I can see the reasoning of protecting those reliant on the state pension, however if the policy was linked to the withdrawal of other benefits (bus passes/winter fuel) on those on the higher tax rates it would look a lot fairer.

  • I’m happy with this, as overall pensions should increase, but I hope we are able to make clear that this is required because pensions were too low, and not just because pensioners automatically deserve a bigger ‘pay rise’ than public sector workers.

    Not mentioned here, but it was on the news, but I note a plan to end the Winter Fuel Allowance for those pensioners with incomes above £45,000, which is more than fair. They said it wouldn’t raise much, and said it was about £110 million, which means there are a lot more rich pensioners than I expected! I know pensioners on much lower incomes who think they shouldn’t get it, so I can’t see there being many complaints about that one.

  • David Becket 7th May '17 - 9:56am

    I have just read the full release. The statement on Winter Fuel is welcome, now let us look at bus passes, possibly reverting to the original proposal, only valid in the area where you live.

  • David Evershed 7th May '17 - 10:36am

    Bus passes should start at age 68 not 60.

    Winter fuel and any other allowances/benefits should be made taxable.

  • Bus passes should not be means tested, as it’s about more than helping out financially. It’s good to encourage retired people to stay connected to the community, and it removes the stigma of giving up using the car. You could probably afford to raise the age at which people get their bus pass, but if we want to get the full benefit, the age should be young enough for people to use it before they need it, or find the bus maps confusing.

    I might be tempted to introduce the rule that was in place when I was young, which was that you couldn’t use your pass during peak commuting hours, or that in those hours, it should only entitle the user to a discount. There are a number of pensioners in my office who get to travel to work for free. These pensioners mainly seem to have grown-up children and have paid off their mortgage, so have far more disposable income than younger workers. I doubt that will save much money, but it reduces resentment, and evens up use of public transport, so workers aren’t having to stand to get to work while pensioners take seats to get to the shops early.

    The above would be adapted for local conditions, and just how busy the buses are, possibly exempting the most rural areas, or pensioners who have mobility problems.

  • Graham Evans 7th May '17 - 11:12am

    @David Evershed Bus passwes are already linked to thee state pension age. It’s only in London that you can get the Freedom Pass at 60 to use on London Transport. Someone 60 today will have to wait to 2023 to get the bus pass outside London, by which time they will be 66.

    I’m not sure how much saving will be achieved by abolishing the triple lock if the increase is still linked to RPI. This could easily reach 2.5% as a result of Brexit.

    @David Becket. No one is totally reliant on the State Pension. If that’s the only pension you have then you will qualify for housing benefit and various other social security benefits, which will raise your income substantially. This is the essential flaw in the State Pension. It is far too low for anyone to live off. However, if you make it means tested then there will be pressure from the better off to keep the State Pension at subsistence level. This is already a problem in terms of social care. Restricting existing pension benefits will only make the problem worse.

  • paul holmes 7th May '17 - 11:12am

    @Malc. Nick Clegg is not the leader of the Liberal Democrats.
    @David Becket. There is certainly a group of affluent pensioners with good Private and Final Salary pensions. But come to Chesterfield and, as everywhere else in the country, I can take you to large numbers of Pensioners who are totally reliant on the State Pension. They were living in or on the edge of poverty until the Liberal Democrat Triple Lock on Pensions was introduced in 2010. Labour had infamously failed to restore the link to earnings that Thatcher had abolished in the 1980’s. It would not take many years of degraded pension increases to put that large group of pensioners back into poverty.

  • By linking it to the Winter Fuel Allowance policy proposal the Lib Dems have a clearer message of how they’ll continue this commitment than Labour. I am, however, also surprised that £45,000 has been chosen. That seems awfully high when I’ve heard of people writing a “Christmas list” for their allowance (“Shall I have a weekend away or a new table this year?”) who are not on income that high.

  • Working age people, particularly those in the public sector, haven’t had a pay rise of 2.5% for many years. Most earn much less than 45K per year. What are Lib Dems going to offer to young people and to working age people? Why aren’t you going to end winter fuel allowance for pensioners with an income of above the average wage in this country? Working people aren’t getting fuel allowances. In an election where the plight of a student nurse, needing to use a food bank, has been highlighted, why are you guaranteeing income for pensioners, who are fast becoming the richest section of our society, and offering nothing to working age and young people?

  • This is a ridiculous and unaffordable policy which will result in more cuts for the working poor. The reason why the pensioners are looked after is because they vote, not because the parties care. It would have been easier for the Tories to dump it with at least some opposition support.

  • @Lisa: We would end the Winter Fuel Allowance for richer pensioners.

  • JohnPT. You can argue it is unaffordable but it is not ridiculous. As for the poor being hurt, the stimulous for this sort of policy, it was a Lib Dem one after all in the coalition, was the decision of Gordon Brown as Chancellor to restrict the rise in annual pensions that year to 75p. This policy gives better protection to the poorer pensioners.
    Regarding the working poor their tax free allowance has been increased each year since 2010 and this will continue, (oh yes another Lib Dem policy in the coalition).
    But hey you would probably criticize come what may, excuse the pun.

  • Nothing wrong with the policy. But why launch two major flagship policies (the NHS tax) in the same news cycle? When for weeks before the local elections the message was solidly Brexit.

  • Alan Depauw 7th May '17 - 12:24pm

    JohnPT: As Graham Evans implies above, the policy is not unaffordable if, as is likely, Brexit-induced inflation rises to 2.5% and above.

  • Sue Sutherland 7th May '17 - 12:31pm

    We get into these muddles because the existing tax and benefits system doesn’t target the people who need it most. Apparently this is beyond our civil servants competence. If pensioners have no other source of income they can’t afford to live in a warm house and eat properly. At the same time we have different pensioners using their bus passes and, in London, train passes to visit expensive restaurants. This is not a Lib Dem society.
    I fail to understand why, in this technological age, when shops and companies target us with specific advertising, that it is so difficult to achieve an equitable tax and benefits system. As for the cry of ‘means testing’ that always seems to erupt whenever targeting is mentioned, or uptake, if the system gave people enough money in their pockets to start off with there would be no problem with uptake because people would just get the money and means testing would be applied to the wealthy when considering what taxes they should pay. In addition, people wouldn’t be branded as poor because things like free school meals wouldn’t be needed any more.

  • Dave Orbison 7th May '17 - 1:04pm

    Seriously pensioners are not the problem. Our State pension is stingy compared to many in Europe. In any event the cost of means testing would undermine the savings. How many pensioners earning say over £45k bother with bus passes anyway? What would that amount to in terms of net income? Peanuts.

    It’s a diversion. Focus on the tax scams of corporations, Corporation Tax and progressive taxation such as the over £80k earners as proposed by Labour and hopefully supported by the LibDems. They would yield far more revenue.

  • Not the choice I’d have made – missed Opportunity for distinct message on intergenerational fairness and contrast with frozen benefits and wages.

    But let’s not kid ourselves: this won’t swing the election and the chances of us being able to implement after June 8th are sadly slim.

  • Stevan Rose 7th May '17 - 1:11pm

    I am a passionate liberal and a passionate democrat. Unfortunately I can’t be a Liberal Democrat and by the time of the GE my membership will lapse. I find this party is neither principled nor democratic. It preaches Lords abolition, whilst packing it with its failed politicians. Policies, such as this one and the penny on income tax, come from a tiny elite and the few who can afford to go to conference. It is no different in its approach to party politics than all the other elite-led parties.

    A penny on income tax never worked before and isn’t a winner now. If it was 5p on the large company corporation tax rate, and make them pay their dues, great, but it wasn’t. The triple lock for pensioners? A double lock, inflation and wages, would be fair, but wouldn’t it have been fairer to limit a pledge on the third element to lower income pensioners. Before you throw more money at the NHS it still needs to address massive waste. Last year I visited A&E and most of the time in a cubicle was spend on a nurse filling in paper forms rather than actual treatment. Only reception was linked up to my medical records. Personally I can afford prescriptions but I get them all free because I am a diabetic – I had a chronic progressive incurable mitochondrial disease before that but no free prescriptions. How about writing off all NHS PFI debts – that would be a winner. Maybe an EEA Brexit policy might help elsewhere.

    I voted LD for the Manchester mayor, more an anti-Burnham protest, but now I am torn between tactically supporting a dreadful Labour incumbent or spoiling my ballot. The next Labour leader will doubtless be moderate and electable, rendering the idea of a centre ground realignment finished. I am struggling to see the point of the Liberal Democrats as currently structured.

  • To be honest, moving from the ‘triple lock’ to the governments mooted ‘double lock’ seems eminently sensible, now that pensioners are amongst the wealthiest group in society, after the last few years of above-inflation increases.

    In periods of high inflation, they would have just as much protection against erosion of value as now. If the guaranteed 2.5% isn’t stopped, the proportion of government expenditure on pensions will go higher and higher, on top of the increasing number of pensioners.

    To be honest, I think the only reason the labour party is proposing to keep the triple lock is that, under McDonnell, they expect the the rate of inflation to be waaay over 2.5%. As do I.

  • Dave Orbison 7th May '17 - 1:50pm

    @ TonyH so after the LibDems have hit students with debt, imposed the Bedroom Tax on families struggling to make ends meet, fronted austerity and supported year-upon-year of pay freeze/cap on the lowest paid public sector workers you, and several on here, advocate going after pensioners.

    Still getting played like a fiddle by the Tories.

  • @Dave Orbison: How can it be ‘going after pensioners’ when the whole point of the double lock is that they are insulated from loosing out from inflation or a rise in average income. Unlike almost every other group.

    And, you seem to associate me with the lib-dems: I am an ex-member, to 2011 (the health and social care act did it for me), and first the first time in 30-odd years I did not vote in the local elections, and am very possibly going to repeat that at the GE.

  • Dave Orbison 7th May '17 - 2:11pm

    TonyH I didn’t say you were a LibDem. But it seems u controversial to assume others supporting what you said are – it being LibDem Voice.

    The triple lock clearly offfers better protection than double lock, no? So switching to that would be at their expense, clearly.

    But you missed my point. Several of the contributors here have supported shifting to the double loc or highlighted bus passes for pensioners etc. My point was simply that this is all peanuts in terms of potential income. Also, setting one section of society against the other is classic Tory divide and rule while the much larger sums that could be gained e.g. through tax avoidance, Corporation Tax and progressive taxation are not at the centre of the political debate.

  • The ‘triple lock’ goes well beyond “protection” – the 2.5% element offers guaranteed above-inflation rises, at times of low inflation, even when average earnings for everyone else might be going down. That is a special favouritism that is no longer needed after average rises of 15% over the last few years (source: just quoted on TV).

    And with state pensions spending at over 100 billions annually, an extra percent or two is not totally peanuts. Although I agree with you on the tax avoidance etc.

  • Dave Orbison 7th May '17 - 2:34pm

    TonyH according to the ICL UK pensions languished at 21st of 27

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/11189414/Why-Britains-state-pension-is-one-of-the-worst-in-Europe.html

    The difference between the triple lock vs double lock would not cost billions. The income from tackling tax evasion, Corporation tax and potential of progressive taxation on the other hand would.

  • @ theakes.

    The policy was correct at the time but ongoing it is not. It should be linked to working age income increases, and as such the triple lock is outdated. If this is about fairness, I agree with Nick, that it is unfair to keep going back to make cuts to the working poor to not just protect pensioners (which is fair) but to increase it generously.

    I really don’t think the younger people who don’t vote understand that there is (what I believe) a direct link between voting and outcomes. If the students/young actually voted, tuition fees would look a lot different. If the pensioners didn’t vote in such a huge volume, then their state pensions would not be as generous.

    As for the hugely successful Lib Dem policy of raising the personal tax allowance, I also think that should no longer be the priority. What about starting on National Insurance instead? I think that would be more progressive at this stage.

  • @Dave, you are right that the number of very wealthy pensioners gallivanting about on free bus passes is small, and any savings wouldn’t be worth the hassle, but it is fair to say there is a sense of unfairness when struggling working young people see the perks that are awarded to well off pensioners being protected, and often enhanced.

    I was once struck up a conversation with a pensioner on the bus from Edinburgh to Fife one Friday night and he told me he was using his free bus pass to travel to and from the opera, for which he got a slightly discounted ticket being a pensioner. So far, nothing special. He then went on to tell me about how he was off to see another opera in Paris soon, having spent about a thousand pounds on tickets for top price tickets, plus hotel and non-subsidised flights. He continued to tell me of all of his many other foreign and expensive trips to the opera around the world, easily spending over £10,000 a year on this hobby, so I’m confident he’d be in the category of wealth pensioner who didn’t need a free bus pass.

    However, I’d argue that he was using his bus pass out of convenience, rather than being particularly tight. Taking a car into Edinburgh for a Friday night is a hassle, which is also the reason I was taking the bus, even though I had to pay for it! As much as I believe that bus passes should not be means tested, I remember that conversation for a reason. It is galling when you have had yet another pay freeze or below inflation pay rise to have a pensioner freebie rubbed in your face (which is how it can feel). The solution isn’t to strip pensioners of perks, but to ensure that younger people get something too.

    How much would it cost to provide half price, or 2/3 price bus travel for under 25s? That’s going to help students, and those new to the work place, as well as contributing towards our environmental targets.

  • Nicholas Cunningham 7th May '17 - 4:05pm

    It’s been pointed out, there are millions of Pensioners who only income is the State Pension and you see it far too often pensioners weighing up their options, juggling one purchase over another. When inflation was zero, they made some headway, that is about to hit the buffers, inflation isn’t going to return to around zero anytime soon. Pensioners have made their contribution, they deserve dignity, they don’t all have overflow pension pots. Take the old state pension which millions of pensioners are still on, up from £119.30 to £122.30, is that so exorbitant.

  • In many ways I feel naturally aligned with the Lib Dems on many issues. But this one is an absolute deal-breaker, for me.

    Never mind whether the “Triple Lock” is affordable or not (it isn’t, but that’s not the point). The fact is that it is simply unfair. Why, when prices aren’t going up by much and working people’s wages are stagnating, should pensioners deserve to see their own incomes increase by 2.5%???

    Why should there even be a double lock? How is it fair that, when my productivity earns me a wage increase, pensioners should feel entitled to share it? What exactly have they contributed to whatever it is that I’ve done? Precisely nothing.

    And now I read that Mr Farron is proposing a rise in income tax to fund social care. INCOME tax – which is paid by those of working age. So yet another way to funnel yet more money away from me and my generation (and those that follow) and channel it into the needs of the pensioners. And this is on top of the free bus passes, free TV licences, winter fuel handouts, free NHS healthcare (of which pensioners are disproportionate users), pensions more generous than any currently working person could ever hope for, etc.

    At some point people like me have to stand up and say: “Enough is enough”. It’s not right for the generation who don’t even seem to realise how easy they had things to keep expecting their juniors to keep giving more and more and more so that they don’t have to contribute to the cost of their own upkeep. And I reached that point, personally, several years ago.

    Pensions should be linked to one thing, and one thing only; the cost of living. That would prevent the poorest pensioners from slipping into absolute poverty, without giving extra handouts to those who already own their own homes and have plenty of savings. Anything else is nothing less than theft from working-age people.

    So although I do agree with the Lib Dem message on a lot of things I absolutely will not be giving you my vote until you face up to the enormous burden the Baby Boomer generation have placed upon the rest of us, and start proposing measures to do something about it. As things stand I’ll be voting Conservative at the next election; they’re the only ones who have even mooted the possibility of getting rid of the abhorrent Triple Lock.

  • Graham Evans 7th May '17 - 7:51pm

    Means testing pensioner benefits is the thin edge of a wedge which will lead to means testing lots of other public services including the NHS, and logically even state schooling. As we see in the US, unless everyone gets something tangible out of the State (rather than nebulous benefits like infrastructure and defence) then there will be a continual pressure to reduce the cost of public provision by cutting the level and standard of public services for those reliant on the state. Far better to increase personal taxes in a progressive way, so although the better off may get less directly out of the system than they pay in, provided the level of service is good, they continue to buy psychologically into the system. This is why the 1p on income tax to pay for increased spending on the NHS is the right move, but we need to go further and identify what level of service we require, and then move to some sort of hypothecated health levy. Of course we need to continually look for efficiency improvements – and that may well involve closing smaller hospitals and centralising specialist services – but to suggest that efficiency savings can provide the resources to meet the health and social care needs of an increasingly aged population, particularly in the absence of large scale immigration of young people, is a simple cope out.

  • I’ve noticed a very positive response to our 1% increase in income tax to fund the NHS.

  • Richard Underhill 7th May '17 - 8:52pm

    Graham Evans: defence is not nebulous. Long periods of peace lead to complacency and the generals fight the last war. 1870, 1914 and 1939 seemed likely to recur indefinitely. The EEC was created to prevent that and has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams doing a different job from NATO, which overlaps substantially and which has also succeeded in facing the USSR and modern Russia in deterrence. Stalin intended to invade Gibraltar via Germany, France and Spain.

  • Graham Evans 7th May '17 - 10:26pm

    @ Richard Underhill. Defence spending is nebulous. While people might accept the concept of spending 2% of GDP on defence, few people have any idea how much we spend on the three services or how their effectiveness is influenced by spending on Trident. Moreover even GDP is a questionable way of measuring a country’s wealth. This is not to say that defence expenditure is not important, merely that electors cannot relate it to what they pay in taxes.

  • Peter Watson 7th May '17 - 10:58pm

    Andrew T “”I’ve noticed a very positive response to our 1% increase in income tax to fund the NHS.”
    Thinking back to what Lib Dems were saying a few years ago when the top rate was reduced to 45% (I remember lots of references to Laffer Curves on this site), is there not a concern that increasing it to 46% will reduce the tax revenue? :-J

  • Graham Evans 8th May '17 - 7:33am

    @ Pete Watson There are many economists who question the validity of the Laffer Curve, or at least its precise shape, so it impossible to answer your query as to whether an increase of 1p will reduce tax revenue. Moreover it has tended to apply to situations where the rate is very high and subsequently reduced, such that in aggregate the effort of avoiding the high rate is no longer worthwhile. Therefore I doubt whether an increase of 1p will have much impact in terms of lost tax revenue. However it is true that a stealth tax such as raising NI was at one time easier for governments to use instead of raising income tax. However as NI has become an increasingly element of of the tax take on earned income a whole army of consultants has grown up devising ways to reduce employer and employee NI contributions.

  • On the subject of bus passes for old people. First I have to declare an interest as I love using mine. However it is not just a question of money. I get a lot more exercise when using the bus than when using the car. If we are to be serious about physical and mental well being we must look at all of the results of our decisions.

  • @ Richard Underhill “Stalin intended to invade Gibraltar via Germany, France and Spain.” ??????????????? Boing Boing ???????????????? .

    Still, according to the Daily Telegraph in 2004 Stalin intended to do it with an army of giant crabs,

    Stalin’s last army – hordes of gigantic crabs on their way to invade …
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk › News › World News › Europe › Norway
    28 Feb 2004 – Millions of giant Pacific crabs, whose ancestors were brought to Europe by … that scientists fear they could end up as far south as Gibraltar.

    How about a new Lib Dem defence policy – replace Trident with lobster pots

  • All the people talking about percentages and not getting a pay rise: you do realise an x% increase of very little is very little, right?
    I looked up the you.gov site and I can expect, down the line, a state pension of just over £8,000. If that’s your sole income, bar any benefits, 2.5% or 10% ain’t going get you much.

    Bus passes, by the way, are probably what keeps a lot of bus services running. No passes, no OAPS using the bus… no buses for anyone to else to use.

  • Peter Watson 8th May '17 - 10:15am

    Graham Evans “it impossible to answer your query as to whether an increase of 1p will reduce tax revenue.”
    Indeed (the emoticon at the end of my post was supposed to indicate tongue-in-cheek, but it’s a relatively obscure one!).
    In government Lib Dems supported and defended the Tories’ policy of reducing Labour’s short-lived highest tax rate to 45% as being the right amount with dubious references to Laffer curves (I had to google the term at the time), so now (not in government) declaring that 46% is the right amount is a bit of a reversal.

  • I’m a 72 year old pensioner who doesn’t think keeping the triple lock on pensions is economically sustainable or fair when younger, working people are struggling to buy a home in a climate of job insecurity. A double lock, as mooted by the Conservatives, sounds sensible. My generation was fortunate to live during a time when jobs were plentiful and employment more secure but we still had to work hard to make our way in life.

    Decisions made during the course of my life have helped me to live comfortably in old age. I have always endeavoured to live within my means and have never run up ‘live now, pay later’ credit card debts. As a pensioner, my annual income is under £12,000. One of the best decisions I made in recent years was to downsize from a 3 bed terraced house to a small 1 bed modern flat.

    The twists and turns of life can be harsher for some people and I hope poorer, less fortunate pensioners will always be assisted by the state. However, by taking responsible decisions and making economically sensible choices over the course of our lifetimes, perhaps many of us, in our older years, could be less of a burden on our families or the state.

  • Peter Watson 8th May '17 - 10:36am

    @CassieB
    “I can expect, down the line, a state pension of just over £8,000. If that’s your sole income, bar any benefits, 2.5% or 10% ain’t going get you much.”
    But all of those pensions add up to a very big number, and 2.5% or 10% of that has to be paid for somehow. Even Steve Webb has called for a “revamp” and suggested there being no triple-lock for those retiring after April 2016, saving almost £3bn per year by 2028 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39748174).

    “Bus passes, by the way, are probably what keeps a lot of bus services running. No passes, no OAPS using the bus… no buses for anyone to else to use.”
    So why not instead have an open, explicit and targeted subsidy instead, rather than trying to fund bus services in such an imprecise and indirect way?

    These expenditure commitments and many others need to be paid for either by cutting elsewhere, raising taxes, borrowing, targeting, means-testing, shaking the magic money tree (perhaps blocking Brexit is the 2017 equivalent of that for Lib Dems), etc. and hopefully the manifestos will outline how all of the parties intend to rob Peter to pay Paul.

  • Peter Watson 8th May '17 - 10:50am

    Given that Lib Dems proudly claim to be driven by evidence-based policy making, what does the evidence say about “the pensions triple lock which was introduced by then Liberal Democrat pensions minister Steve Webb.”
    Apparently Steve Webb has suggested it should be “revamped” with a “middle way” between scrapping it and keeping it, and an independent parliamentary review recommended it should be withdrawn in the next parliament.
    Does the evidence support the Lib Dem position? Otherwise it risks looking like a political exercise, attempting to woo back a section of voters who seem otherwise to have been dismissed as uneducated Brexit-supporting xenophobes whose imminent passing will shift the balance back to Remainers?

  • Pat 8th May ’17 – 10:23am……………I’m a 72 year old pensioner who doesn’t think keeping the triple lock on pensions is economically sustainable or fair when younger, working people are struggling to buy a home in a climate of job insecurity………

    Really? The triple lock was introduced in 2010; at a time when we were told, by the coalition government, that the UK economy was a whisker away from becoming another Greece…
    After 7 years of a growing, nay booming, economy what is the justification for such a reversal? After all, 2.5% isn’t too much to expect….

    I’m a 73 year old pensioner who is ‘comfortable’, having made sensible provision’…However, these plentiful jobs we grew up with; how many were menial, low paid? Those so employed lived in council/cheap housing and were, to use May’s forgotten phrase, “Just about managing”…They were unable to make ‘sensible provision’ and rely on the triple lock…
    The “I’m OK”, no matter how subliminal, should not blind us to the fact that there are many pensioners who are still, “Just about managing”…

  • Robert (Bristol) 8th May '17 - 11:32am

    So we have bottled that one then! Anyone who is anyone in the pensions industry has recently said that the triple lock has served its purpose and should be scrapped. The 2.5% is an arbitrary figure and one doesn’t need a degree in economics to work out that this policy is unaffordable.

    Politicians have still not learnt that one should ‘never say never’ and we should have had the guts to say we would be reviewing pensioner benefits with a view to targeting those in real need. I am a pensioner who gets the full monty of additional benefits such as winter fuel allowance and I actually don’t need any of it and I am not alone. It’s also daft that pensioners in work don’t pay national insurance at a time in our lives when we are the biggest drawers on the NHS and social care budgets.

    Younger voters will be rightly cheesed off with this announcement!

  • Matt (Bristol) 8th May '17 - 11:36am

    If the triple lock is retained, any new social care settlement (which is essential) will need a greater level of means testing than is going to be politically acceptable, and to refuse to accept this is to encourage a dangerous fantasy to take hold in the nation.

    You can’t subsidise both pensions and social care from the public purse given the generational income and property-ownership disparities that are emerging.

  • Let me declare an interest, my wife and I are both pensioners so benefit from the triple lock. I am fortunate enough to have a good occupational pension. I do use my bus pass locally, but we give our winter fuel allowances to charity. We obviously pay income tax and are very happy to pay an extra penny to improve the NHS.
    I do know many pensioners hose main source of income is the state pension and sure they can claim benefits, many will not do so. The triple lock has benefited pensioners in times of low inflation, I well remember the days increases were linked to inflation and wages were roaring ahead. I do support the triple lock, but think that the other benefits like winter fuel, bus passes etc should be linked to income.
    My children are in their early thirties, and both struggling to buy houses, so society needs to be fair to both those who are working and those of us who have worked for forty years or so.

  • Disappointed by this for all the reasons given by others – it is pandering to the elderly because they vote. Where is the commitment to inflation-linked rises for public sector workers, a natural LD constituency, who have had years of zero or 1% pay caps?

  • Kay Kirkham 8th May '17 - 3:18pm

    Be careful what you wish for when it comes to bus passes. They are only valid round here after 0930 and I assume this is the same elsewhere. I worked past retirement age but I had to pay a peak time fare to get there in the morning. I could get home free but as my annual bus ticket was effectively half price, I didn’t benefit much at all.

    The ‘subsidy’ which supports bus passes, if ended, would seriously damage bus services which have already taken a hammering. This would lead to more car travel, more isolated communities or people unable to travel because they can’t afford it.

  • Laurence Cox 8th May '17 - 4:50pm

    People tend to forget that the ‘triple lock’ only applies to the Basic State Pension. My Civil Service Pension only rose this year by 1.0% because that was the annual CPI last September. People who want to take money off pensioners need to remember that the effective inflation rate is different for everyone; in particular pensioners are harder hit by rises in the cost of heating and do not benefit from lower mortgage interest rates because they often own their houses outright.

    I would keep the ‘triple lock’ for the Basic State Pension until it comes into line with the New State Pension, which should remain ‘double-locked’. It was Thatcher who broke the link between the State Pension and earnings that led directly to increased pensioner poverty over the next two decades.

  • Dave Orbison 8th May '17 - 5:35pm

    When talking about pensioners rather than looking at the lot of the comfortable pensioner let’s consider the vast majority who are not wealthy. Many live in fear of making ends meet, are isolated and subject to cold winters. Elderly people are much susceptible to the cold so even a one-off fuel payment doesn’t go far.

    Then there are those who depend on buses to do their essential shopping or to socialise – not a luxury but an essential means of support to many.

    The Government sold moving the retirement age in return for pension enhancements. A blatant con trick. It’s a real shame that we are getting sucked into dividing communities into winners and losers.

    We should expect decent public services and be prepared to pay for them through progressive taxation in my view.

  • We ought to be moving away from state pensions and retirement ages towards a basic income/provision that would allow people to live just above poverty with the expectation that a higher standard of living should be financed privately.

  • Quite right, Dave, ….

    …….and don’t forget most pensioners have paid national insurance and taxes (probably at higher than the current rate) all their working lives – often for over fifty years.

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