Peers fight into the night for 12 million pensioners to get the full “triple lock” rise of over £14 a week

Baroness Stedman-Scott, DWP minister in the Lords who said bill would collapse if peers voted for the amendments

The government came under fire from all parties last night in a late sitting in the House of Lords for deciding to scrap the “triple lock” for pensioners- reducing next April’s rise from over £14 to £5.55 a week.

There also was a constitutional row when the Conservative Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Evans, on advice from the clerks, wanted to rule out of order an amendment from Tory peer Baroness Stroud, on the £20 a week cut in Universal Credit. It was quite clear from her proposal – she worked with Iain Duncan Smith at the Centre for Social Justice – that she wanted MPs to to have a vote on the cut and was not happy with the policy.

The debate which ran on until midnight united rebellious Tories, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens and crossbenchers in opposition to the plans to break the earnings link.

Baroness Altmann, a former Conservative pensions minister, proposed three amendments – all aimed at restoring in some way an earnings link – though offering the government a compromise by either linking to a lower earnings level or giving the highest rise to those pension credit – who are the poorest pensioners.

Lord Sikka – picture credit Twitter

By far the strongest criticism of the move came from the Labour peer, Prem Sikka, who wanted to scrap the clause altogether. He was backed by Baroness Bennett, the former Green Party leader and Lord Davies of Brixton, a former trade unionist and leader of the Inner London education authority.

He called for the full 8.3 per cent up rating to be paid:” In the 1980s, the Thatcher Administration broke the link between earnings and the state pension, and we never recovered from it. This is another example of where, once that link is broken, we will never really recover from it; the Minister so far has not said that in future the backlog will somehow be made up. Nothing has been said about that.”

“The current full state pension at the moment is £9,350 a year, and only four out of 10 retirees receive it. The average state pension is about £8,000 a year and, as has already been pointed out, is around 24% or 25% of the earnings. It is the lowest among industrialised nations, and by not increasing the state pension in line with average earnings we are going to condemn it to remain low.”

He said that state pensions were lowest in Europe – just 4.6 per cent od gross national product – compared to 10 per cent in Germany.

1.25 million women pensioners living in poverty

He asked: “Why is it that the Government are content for such low allocation to the state pension? What happened to the billions that the Government took from 3.8 million women by raising their state pension age from 60 to 66? What happened to the billions that the Government said would be saved by coming out of the European Union? Why have those resources not been used to lift our senior citizens out of poverty?”

He added: “Despite the triple lock, 2.1 million pensioners live in poverty, 1.25 million of whom are women. The poverty rate is higher now that it was in 2012-13. Many simply struggle to survive. Those retirees who try to top up their meagre state pension with part-time work will soon be hit by the Johnson tax: a 1.25% hike in national insurance. At the same time, what do we actually observe? For those rich people who make vast fortunes from capital gains and dividends, or speculation on second homes, commodities markets and securities markets, no national insurance contributions are payable on unearned income. That money could definitely be used to alleviate poverty, but the Government have not indicated any inclination to do that.”

“£8.50 a week is probably less than what many ministers pay for a glass of wine”

He said it would cost £4.7 billion to do so and could easily be raised by raising the national insurance levy on unearned income, such as shares or capital gains, which are exempt from the new levy.

“A triple lock based upon the existing formula could have given an increase of around 8% to 8.3%, adding up to about £14 a week in the full new state pension, instead of £5.55 a week. That is a difference of about £8.50 a week. Is that really a king’s ransom? It is probably less than what many Ministers pay for a glass of wine with their lunch.”

Baroness Bennett said she wanted a even more radical overhaul of the pensions system – saying no pensioner should live in povery and the con tributory system which is unfair to women should be abolished.

Baroness Stedman-Scott, junior minister at the Department for Work and Pensions, said if Lord Sikka’s proposal was passed the bill would collapse as it has only two clauses and asked for him to withdraw it. He did but promised to come back next Wednesday when the bill is debated again when he plans to raise the issue of the National Insurance Fund whose latest accounts show it has a £37 billion surplus. Curiously I learnt that Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, did not want Labour peers highlighting the issue of the pensions ” triple lock” implying Labour was prepared to go along with the Tories over this issue but it seems pretty clear from the debate that this was ignored. Rather extraordinary that Labour don’t want to highlight the issue.

For those who want to see the debate go to https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/3af431d5-923d-46d3-a9ec-3bf5a3ad7d2f and scroll down to 20:12:26 Legislation: Social Security (Uprating of Benefits) Bill – committee stage .It is a long debate lasting nearly four hours.

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25 thoughts on “Peers fight into the night for 12 million pensioners to get the full “triple lock” rise of over £14 a week

  1. I would donate but state pension of137.00 a week enable me to just live. Where as someone retiring tomorrow get 179.00.
    So sorry can’t afford it

    Like

  2. Hi,

    When is the Parliamentary Ombudsman`s final report and conclusion as to what is going to be done to compensate women who have been treated unfairly over the increased pension age from 60 to 66?

    Is this going to be brushed under the carpet? or is there to be e.g. a bridging pension until these women reach their UK pension age of 66?

    The life expectancy in the UK has dropped considerably since our parents’ age group where many lived well into their late 80`s 90`s.

    National statistics evidence this. Especially over the last 2 years as the over 50`s has had the biggest number of deaths from Covid 19. Yet women caught in the gap are the ones worst hit financially. Remember there was no impact report carried out by the DWP over women’s pension age increase.

    This is gross incompetence and this topic should be re-debated with up to date evidence on the decline in life expectancy in the UK.

    Is there the option for women to bring this matter to the `Supreme Court` evidencing the failure of the DWP?

    I look forward to hearing your comments. With kindest regards, Diane S. x

    On Wed, 27 Oct 2021 at 19:14, Westminster Confidential wrote:

    > davidhencke posted: ” Baroness Stedman-Scotrt, DWP minister in the Lords > who said bill would collapse if peers voted for the amendments The > government came under fire from all parties last night in a late sitting in > the House of Lords for deciding to scrap the “triple loc” >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t understand why the ‘living wage’ is so much more than a pension?
    Milk cost the same whether a pensioner is buying it or a person in work. Not that I think the living wage is good enough but it’s better than a state pension or should that be ‘the dying wage’ 😓

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The women who have had to work six extra years to get their state pension I being one of them, cannot get it then due to the incompetence of DWP.. This is a national disgrace !!! and I call on government to to make this a priority as we don’t have any money coming in and cannot live on nothing!!!!!

    Like

  5. Lord Sikka is a wonderful advocate.
    As a 1950s women I have waited 6 years. I have just discovered that my late Mother was underpaid her SP probably over many years. The main issue is is that her quality of life would have been better and more comfortable if the income she should have received had been paid at the time she was alive.
    I have asked DWP for a full explanation , this is the least we should have. I believe that this affects a huge group of women many are deceased. I am thinking that we should group together to make a complaint about DWP, just paying back money due does not make it right and how do we know that they will now calculate correctly ?
    Failure that has detrimentally affected so many women .

    Like

  6. Thank you for all those fighting for better pensions well done very disappointed labour went along with the goverment on not raising them to original proposals

    Like

  7. Why have pension increases. All UK pensioners should be treated the same as expat pensioners living in the majority of foreign countries who don’t get increases. Why should pensioners in the UK, and for example USA and Israel get them and not UK pensioners living in say Canada, Australia or India.
    .Equal treatment for all. . No increases .

    Like

    • Because it is a personal choice to move abroad. Pensions need to increase annually to keep up with the increasing costs of living including council tax and other UK Government taxes. If an expat does not want a frozen pension, they can move back to the UK and their pension increases will be reinstated.

      Like

  8. Many millions of pounds were paid PPE THROUGH aiding Covid which did not work, why should the pensioner be penalised for the government’s adhok attitude and incompetence all through covid emergency. Because I was born in 1944 I am on the lower rate of pension even having paid for 40 years. It makes me spit. I would like to donate but my pension is £137 week so I cannot afford a donation. Thankyou for your time. Robin Ancill
    .

    Like

  9. My fuel bill about to increase from £650pa. To £1127pa the increase of £5.00 aint going to cover it,my rent and rates will be going up where is the money going to come from?

    Like

  10. Okay so the national living wage is going up!? So what are we pensioners getting are we not entitled to the same? Inflation is going up all the time at the moment and we are having to accept less than inflation! I didn’t see any further increase in the allowance to help with heating over the winter months but gas and electric bills are soaring. Pensioners are at home more and as you get older feel the cold more easily! Where is the help for them during the winter months? All these young ones who think we are a bunch of old moaners should think again as they will be our age and they will have to work well into old age and probably die before they get their state pension! Question?? What happens to all the money that would’ve been paid out when a person dies? Where does that money go?

    Like

  11. The current state pension is a two tier system with pensioners receiving Basic oap of £137 compared to the New oap receiving £175. Surely this is ageism.

    Like

  12. I would like to know why I only get £46 per wk pension I was born 1/11/1947, I worked for many yrs, then had to look after my late Husband, I am struggling with paying bills etc +Rent, I’ve tried to get in tough with DWP to no avail, Barbara Taylor

    Like

  13. It is time that the government think hard and fast regarding pensioners who live in total poverty, these same people who were young once and kept the wheels of industry moving along, these same pensioners who trusted our government with their future’s and end up being treated like second class citizens and cast aside, it is time the government looked after our pensioners and do the right thing by them, “Pensioners in Poverty” is not how to do it. Firstly sort this mess out with the Women from the fifties, then give pensioners a hard earned decent pension which they deserve in line with inflation, and the amount the triple lock would have given.

    Like

  14. Living wage up 6.6%. Pension up 3.1%. Lord Sikka is right. Once the link is broken, any future state pension percentage increases will start from a lower base. The current government might have broken a so called ‘red wall’ but it has created a ‘wrinkly’ one for the next general election. I know which wall I would worry about more if I was in the government

    Like

  15. How many Tory MPs are sitting at home with a blanket, not knowing if they can afford to have the heating on. I like many 50s women paid our dues and this is my reality.

    Like

    • Yes I know the feeling can’t afford to put heating on, just a wooly jumper, never in my lifetime did I think I’d be doing this, my Husband would be so upset if he was here to see this

      Like

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