Tag Archives: triple lock

Pensioners, You never had it so good…

…or so some people in this government want you to think

Everyone needs to ensure they get a good pension at the end of the day. So join Lib Dems Overseas Fringe Event: Frozen Pensions to Lost Pensions at the autumn conference 1pm  on Sunday 27 September to update yourselves on the politics of pensions and campaign to safeguard your future!

For decades the UK state pension lagged seriously behind the growth in average earnings. In 2011 the coalition government introduced a formula to protect pensions against the vagaries of inflation. It introduced a mechanism to guaranteeing that the state pension would rise every year by the highest of the following:

–  The rise in average earnings

–  The rise in the Consumer Price Index

–   Or 2.5%

It was called the Triple Lock and was hailed with great fanfare.

But no-one foresaw the coronavirus and the need to spend billions of pounds to shore up the economy and protect jobs.  Where would money to pay for it come from? One soft target identified is – you guessed it – the Triple Lock. The rationale is that earnings and prices this year could fall, yet pensioners would still get the 2.5%. Then, the following year pensions could surge in line with fast-rising earnings.

But those who think that our pensioners are spoilt are probably unaware of the fact that in 2019 the OECD provided data showing that the UK state pension was the worst in the developed world, paying only 29% of average earnings. By comparison, the Netherlands led the table at 100%. Mexico was closest to the UK at 29.6% while the average across the OECD was 62.9%.

What about occupational pensions?

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End of Triple Lock in sight? Why half a million pensioners are not concerned!

In 2011 the coalition government introduced a formula that would ensure that state pensions would henceforth be automatically protected against the vagaries of inflation. They introduced a so-called triple lock which would guarantee that the state pension would be increased every year by the highest of the following:

  • Average earnings
  • Price inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index
  • 2.5%

Successive governments have honoured this formula (which produced an increase of 3.9% for pensioners in April this year) and the conservative manifesto in 2019 promised it would be maintained for the following five years.

But then came the coronavirus!

This has heaped a heavy financial toll …

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Tories try to take credit for Lib Dem Steve Webb’s Pensions Triple Lock

As the election campaign hots up, all the parties are emailing those who have signed up to their email lists on all sorts of issues.

In the past few days, we’ve seen one from Harriet Harman admonishing the recipient for not responding to Labour’s opinion survey. It had one question, basically “Are you voting Labour?” There wasn’t even a “maybe” option.

We’ve seen a missive David Cameron (or his digital equivalent) has emailed to his distribution list to take credit for the pensions triple lock. The wording looks like it’s been copied and pasted from a Liberal Democrat equivalent.

Now, everyone knows that that was Liberal Democrat pensions guru Steve Webb’s idea. If you look in the 2010 Tory manifesto, you see a commitment to restoring the link to earnings, but that’s about it.

In contrast, this is what the Lib Dem manifesto had to say:

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Opinion: Why it is wrong to enshrine the “triple lock” in law

pensionsOne of the now regular flow of “policy announcements” from the leadership calls for the 2010 ‘triple lock’ to be enshrined in law.  Passing for a moment over the fact that these “announcements” are of course nothing of the sort and discourteous to Conference which passes policy, (though, to be fair, as Mark Pack and others have pointed out, Steve Webb has been careful to avoid language some others have used that suggests these policies have been agreed without the party having a say), I think it’s the wrong idea.

Why? …

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Steve Webb writes… Lib Dems will write the pensions ‘triple lock’ guarantee into law

webb 01For decades, successive Labour and Conservative governments allowed the state pension to decline after Margaret Thatcher broke the ‘earnings link’ in 1980. The nadir of this was in the Labour years, when Gordon Brown increased the state pension by just 75p a week.

I was determined that the Liberal Democrats would do something about this appalling situation. In our manifesto in 2010 we campaigned on a ‘triple lock’ guarantee. This was a commitment that the pension would rise by whichever rating was highest in each year – by earnings, prices …

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Interview: Nick Clegg on the economy, welfare, Cleggism and the “superb” Kung Fu Panda films

CleggWe brought you a taste of the Voice’s exclusive interview with the deputy prime minister yesterday. Here is the full interview, covering the economy, welfare reform, pensions, Cleggism, our approach to the manifesto, Kung Fu Panda and Clegg’s cooking.

Nick Thornsby: What’s your take on where the economy is now, three and a bit years into the coalition?

Nick Clegg: My overall assessment is that it is healing. There are signs of confidence slowly seeping back into the sinews of the economy. Some of the latest data on consumer confidence are better …

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Pensions, the triple lock and Scottish independence

Steve Webb has come under a bit of fire for comments that his triple lock, which guarantees a state pension rise by the higher of earnings, inflation or 2.5% can’t be guaranteed after the election. Let’s look at what he actually said to the Financial Times.

My view is it should be triple lock; to be absolutely clear, I would want to see that continue. But we, as a party, will have to thrash that one out.

He made clear that this would be something that all parties would have go deal with.

This is pretty much a statement of the obvious. …

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Well done, Ed Balls. He’s opened up space for a proper welfare debate. Lib Dems now need to claim that space.

Ed Balls has done us all a favour. His announcement last week that if he were Chancellor he would put a stop to winter fuel allowances for well-off pensioners means Labour has joined the Lib Dems in saying we need to focus the welfare budget where it’s needed most, not keep on re-distributing from the worse off to the better off in the name of universalism. It’s why I chose him as my 38th Liberal Hero.

And yesterday he was at it again, highlighting quite how much of the welfare budget the state pension represents — some £74 …

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Ian Swales MP writes: 12 CUTS Labour don’t talk about

The Labour party think they can win the economic argument by just wailing about cuts on behalf of their public sector union paymasters. They give no credible alternatives for what they would do about Britain’s economic crisis.

What they also like to ignore is some of the changes that are being made towards making this country fairer. Here is a list of cuts WE should be talking about because they are mostly happening through Lib Dem action and pressure.

  • The CUT from £250,000 to £50,000 in the maximum annual pension contribution to receive tax relief – clawing back a staggering £4,000,000,000 (£4bn) that Labour was giving to the rich.
  • The

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The party strategy debate: rolling highlights

Note: If you’re catching up with this post after it was published, read it from the bottom up.

Final result – both amendment and motion passed overwhelmingly. The overall tenor of the debate was more good natured than might have been expected – people did not take the opportunity to express any unhappiness in strident tones, and the party being in coalition with the Tories until 2015 was accepted and expected, explicitly or implicitly, by all speakers. Tuition fees and NHS got mentions, but brief ones. Norman Lamb’s comments about the health debate (see below), however, were unexpected and welcome.

James Gurling, …

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Tom Baldwin and the “triple lock”: you could have read it here Tom

Today Tom Baldwin in The Times reports on its exciting persistent investigative journalism into the party’s “triple lock” rule for deals with other parties:

The exact wording of this rule, disclosed only after repeated inquiries to Liberal Democrats headquarters this week, sets a high bar for clearing “any substantial proposal which could affect the party’s independence of political action”.

A pedant would point out that it was “disclosed” here back in November. Then it was Steve Richards I took to task (for calling the rule – which was debated in public at party conference – “secret”).

Perhaps you should add us …

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5 reasons Nick Clegg should rule out a coalition now

With most polls showing the next election could result in a hung parliament, there has been various speculation about what the Lib Dem position would be. I think it’s time for Nick Clegg to make an unambiguous statement that the party would not enter a coalition with either Labour or the Tories. Here are my five reasons why Nick should spell this out clearly and simply now …

1. A coalition is a non-starter, so let’s just rule it out now

It’s quite simple: the majority of party members will not for a single moment entertain the idea of a coalition with …

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Since when is something debated in public, in front of journalists called “hidden”?

Since yesterday, in fact. Because in an otherwise thoughtful piece on hung Parliaments in The Independent, Steve Richards made this comment:

If there is a hung parliament there will almost certainly be no formal coalition government, even if Nick Clegg and Vince Cable would like to join one. Clegg is trapped by what is known as his party’s “triple lock”, a hidden rule that might become of vital relevance. Before entering a coalition he is bound to secure the agreement of his MPs, other national representatives and the membership.

Credit to Steve Richards for knowing about this rule. But “hidden”? It …

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That hoary old Hung Parliament chestnut

There’s an interesting article by The Independent’s Steve Richards today, focusing – as the media does every three months or so – on the prospect of a ‘Hung Parliament’, and what the Lib Dems would do in such an eventuality.

Actually the article’s a bit broader than that, and I can’t let the opportunity pass without briefly digressing to agree wholeheartedly with his snipe at the Tories’ two key initiatives of the past week: David Cameron’s ‘apology’ for failing to anticipate the economic crisis until way too late (Steve accuses the Tories of “still playing student-like games”); and yesterday’s …

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