A lot of you have written to me with concerns about your pension, so I thought I would write a quick update after a vote in Parliament yesterday on the ‘triple lock.’
The triple lock is a commitment to pensioners that the State Pension will rise each year by the highest of three different measures: the rate of earnings increases, the rate of price rises or 2.5%.
The Tories committed to maintain the triple lock in the 2019 General Election. Now they are breaking that promise.
The Tories argue that the pandemic has made the triple lock unsustainable, because it pushed average earnings up by 8%, therefore increasing the amount of money that had to be paid into pensions. The reasons for this are complex, caused in part by so many people losing their jobs during the pandemic, employment now opening up and the end of the furlough scheme. However, this looks as if it will be a one-off outlier. We will hold them to their promise that this change will only last for one year.
I supported an amendment to bind the government to the one-year limit and to use the money that would have gone to pensions this year to maintain the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift, which the Tories are cutting.
This uplift is helping millions of working families on low wages. The government’s own impact assessment shows that to cut the £20 uplift will cause great hardship. Unfortunately, the Speaker of the House did not allow this amendment to be heard and so we will now look for other ways to achieve this.
The last Labour government drastically reduced pensioner poverty and Labour will always stand up for pensioners. The government must not use the pandemic as cover for scrapping protections. We cannot allow old age to be a cause of poverty.