The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Number 10 denies ‘triple lock’ in danger
Downing Street has played down reports the “triple lock” on pensions will be abolished as a result of the coronavirus financial crisis.
The triple lock, which has been in force since 2010, acts as a safeguard for state pensioners’ incomes and helps to protect their spending power.
Each year, the state pension increases in line with either inflation in the year to September, a “floor” of 2.5%, or earnings, whichever is higher.
The Financial Times reported that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is preparing to break the pledge, amid Treasury fears the policy could soon become unaffordable.
But a Number 10 source told a Westminster briefing: “These are unique and challenging economic circumstances and we cannot hide from that.
“As you know, decisions on tax and pension policy are set out at Budget by the chancellor but there are no plans to abolish the triple lock and we will always stand by pensioners.”
Asked if it could be suspended, the source said: “I’m not going to speculate on what inflation might be in future.”
Next year’s pension payments will not be causing headaches at the Treasury because of a hit to salaries from the Covid-19 crisis, but official forecasts suggest wages could soar next year – leaving the UK Government with a hefty bill in the future.