State pension: Triple-lock ‘no longer affordable’ says Ken Clarke
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The lifting of lockdowns over the past year has meant that inflation rates have skyrocketed, as the economy went from stand-still to bustling in a matter of weeks. With the financial year tallying at a huge inflation rate of 8.8 percent, Rishi Sunak is under mounting pressure to break the triple lock policy that usually ensures state pensions rise at the same rate of inflation, or at a minimum rise of 2.5 percent.
The Treasury’s purse strings are currently being drawn in many different directions, as funding is needed for the housing crisis, the ongoing furlough scheme, and the NHS.
A steep rise in pensions would take a large chunk of government funding away from other areas of social care, but campaigners and pensioners argue that a large increase to state pensions is well overdue and should be honoured now.
Chief Economist for the Trades Union Congress, Kate Bell, thinks that the current state pension is not in line with current average wages and said: “If it catches up just that little bit faster this year, well then I think that will be welcome.”
An Express reader said: “The UK pension is [one of the] lowest among western Europe. It needs increasing a lot more NOT decreasing.”
Another added: “Eight percent of a pittance is only a little more than the current pension.
“Who can truthfully live on £137 a week?”
Would you vote blue in the next election if the triple lock is broken? (Image: Getty)
Across Europe state pensions, and the systems put in place to calculate eligibility, vary drastically.
Spain had a minimum means-tested pension, which works out at around £155 a week for a single person, while the maximum allowance is about £535 a week.
The minimum French pension is £130 a week and the maximum is approximately £340 a week.
In Germany, most workers’ pension insurance payments are compulsory but there is no statutory minimum or maximum pension.
The full state pension in the UK is approximately £179.60 a week, but this figure can vary depending on when the person was born and their National Insurance contributions. This does not include any additional state pension, Pension Credit, or other benefits a pensioner might be eligible for.
A huge 88 percent of Express readers said that the Chancellor Rishi Sunak should not break the triple lock in a poll of 14,049 people held between 10am August 19 and 3pm August 24.
Only 20 percent of voters thought that future years’ pension rates would not be put in jeopardy if Mr Sunak broke the policy in this year due to unprecedented circumstances.
But, 16 percent of people said an inflation rate for pensions between 4.5 percent and 7.5 percent would be a reasonable decision for the government to make.
Of the 74 percent of people who said Downing Street should stick to 8.8 percent, many said the Conservative government would lose pensioner votes if the backed-out of the triple lock that they promised to protect in their 2019 manifesto.
One voter commented: “Pensioners will not forget this at the next election, and let’s face it the Tories rely on their votes.”
Another added: “Sunak’s own aspirations to someday be Prime Minister will disappear if he removes the triple lock and so will many marginal Tory seats at the next election. Beware the power of pensioner votes.”