Don’t tinker with the state pension triple lock AGAIN – it’s all many pensioners have

Boris Johnson is asked if he will ditch the triple lock for pensions

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It was introduced in 2010, to help the State Pension keep up with earnings and prices, and close the pensioner poverty gap. And it worked.

By increasing the annual State Pension either by earnings, inflation or 2.5 percent, whichever was highest, pensioner living standards rose.

The UK’s State Pension is still one of the lowest in the developed world, but at least it was heading in the right direction.

This year we’re seeing just how valuable it is. Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to suspend the triple lock has cost pensioners almost £500 in 2022/23 alone.

In practice, it will prove a lot more costly than that, because they will miss out on that money in future years, too. 

Over the course of a typical 20-year retirement, the total loss will add up to a staggering £10,000.

The triple lock is more important than ever as inflation skyrockets. There’s good news on that front, at least.

Sunak has pledged to reinstate the mechanism next year and pensioners could get a bumper pay rise of 7.4 percent as a result.

That is the anticipated inflation rate in September, which is the month used to set the 2023/24 State Pension hike.

Again, we’re seeing just how important the triple lock is. 

The Government’s argument for suspending the triple lock was that wages were “skewed and distorted” by the pandemic, and would have given them a huge 8.3 percent pay hike, which would have been unfair on others.

Naturally, pensioners don’t agree.

However, there is a wider issue here. By suspending the triple lock, the Government has made pensioners feel incredibly insecure. 

That’s because if politicians can do it once, they can do it again. Even if they made it a manifesto commitment, as the Conservative Party did in 2019.

The decision is all down to the Chancellor of the day and that worries people. Understandably so.

There’s something else that worries pensioners, as I’ve noticed in a growing number of comments below articles.

The Government describes the State Pension as a benefit. Reader David22 is just one of many who finds this suspicious.

He posted: “The State Pension is NOT a benefit it is an entitlement as they have paid into it all their lives.”

In 2016, the Government responded to criticisms by accepting that “some people have a negative association with the word ‘benefit’ as synonymous with the means test”.

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However, it stood its ground arguing that “this legal description provides consistency with other contributory benefits”. 

If pensioners are being a bit jumpy about this, they have good reason to be. Life is beyond tough right now, for millions.

Many are wholly reliant on the State Pension for their income in retirement, yet it’s nowhere near enough.

It wasn’t enough before inflation skyrocketed, and the shortfall is even greater today. Any politician who tinkers with the State Pension is likely to scare the wits out of pensioners, frankly.

This isn’t just cash on the side. For many, it’s all they have.

Downgrading the triple lock for just one year will cost pensioners could make the difference between heating or eating for many. That’s why so many are desperate to see its future secured rather than left to the whim of politicians.

Their lives depend on it.

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