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Kwasi Kwarteng gives hope to old people during financial crisis with assurance that government is ‘absolutely committed’ to triple lock pensions
- Chancellor said government was ‘absolutely committed’ to triple lock pensions
- This is amid fears it could be suspended again to save money
- He declined to say that increases in social benefits for the unemployed would keep pace
- Experts warned he will have to cut billions of pounds in public services
Retirees are guaranteed a significant increase in their state benefits next year, the chancellor insisted last night.
Kwasi Kwarteng said the government was “absolutely committed” to the triple pension lockdown for fear it could be suspended again to save money. But he declined to say that increases in unemployment benefits would keep up with the rising cost of living.
Meanwhile, experts warned his treasury will have to cut billions of pounds in public services, similar to the cuts imposed in the austerity era of the past decade, to balance the books after its radical tax cut in the budget.
Visiting a company in Darlington yesterday, Mr Kwarteng said: ‘The Prime Minister is absolutely committed to the triple lock and we are absolutely committed to maintaining it.’
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng arrives at Darlington station yesterday for a visit to see local business. He said the government was “absolutely committed” to the triple lockdown of pensions for fear it could be suspended again to save money
But when asked whether benefits also increase with inflation, he only replied: “It’s premature for me to make a decision on that, but we are absolutely committed to ensuring that the most vulnerable in our society are protected.” by what a challenge.’ His comments came after concerns were raised that the conservative manifesto’s long-standing promise – which guarantees that the state pension will rise each year to match whatever is highest in inflation, income or 2.5 percent – could return next year. can be broken.
The triple lock was controversially suspended last year to prevent a record increase in line with wages that were pushed up when the Covid crisis ended, leaving the elderly only up 3.1 percent in April this year.
The following month, Rishi Sunak, then chancellor, promised it would return, with a welcome increase in retirement income from April of about 10 percent, as the figure is calculated using inflation for the year to September.
Mr. Kwarteng’s assurances came after Chief Secretary of the Treasury Chris Philp refused to guarantee that the triple lock would be maintained. Mr Philp, who has just told Whitehall departments to find new “efficiency savings”, said the decision is “under consideration”.
He told the BBC: ‘The Department of Work and Pensions reviews benefits plans every autumn. That process will proceed normally in the course of this autumn and will be announced to the House of Representatives in the normal way. I’m not going to prejudge that process.’
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Philp refused to guarantee triple lock would be maintained
Helen Morrissey, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said retirees are counting on “an inflationary increase in their state pensions next year under the triple lock”, adding: “Many retirees are struggling with their finances as the cost of energy and food has risen and their income has not been able to keep up.’
Former Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann said that if the Tories break their pension promise a second time, after lowering the tax rate by 45 pence and removing the cap on bankers’ bonuses, ‘I think that would be very bad. understood by some of their most important, loyal voters’.
She added: ‘I would strongly advise against withdrawing the promised pension protection scheme for UK retirees, which has one of the lowest state pensions in the developed world.’ Sir Steve Webb, a former pensions minister who is now a partner at consultancy LCP, predicted that ministers ‘would try to save by cutting benefits in working age’.
The Resolution Foundation think tank said increasing benefits, including pensions, next year through income rather than inflation — essentially a 4 percentage point cut — would bring in £11 billion in a year, but a low-income family income would cost more than £1,000. It predicted that in 2010 the government may have to make even bigger cuts than George Osborne’s.