Inflation rises to 4.2 per cent days after ministers limit rise to 3.1 percent
The House of Lords accepted the Commons defeat over their plan to meet the broken Tory manifesto pledge to keep the “triple lock” on pension rises next April.
The proposal from former Tory pensions minister, Ros Altmann, would have increased pensions by less than 8.3 per cent – the rise in earnings – but more than 3.1 per cent rise in inflation.
Yesterday when the measure came back to the Lords not a single Conservative peer – not even Ros Altmann who had proposed the compromise – spoke in the debate. Instead it was left to Labour peers, a Liberal Democrat and a crossbencher peer to criticise the Commons decision.
Labour peer Lord (Bryn) Davies of Brixton – noting that inflation will be high next year – warned that having broken the ” triple lock” because a 8.3 per cent earnings rise was not regarded as atypical – had created a precedent that could apply the following year to inflation.
He said: “We know the Government believe that highly atypical trends in earnings growth are sufficient justification for breaking the earnings link. We do not know how atypical earnings growth needs to be in future before they decide again to break the link. Can the Minister tell us more about what counts as atypical earnings growth? How atypical does it need to be to justify breaking the promise?
“However, it is not just earnings growth that might be considered atypical. What counts as atypical growth in prices? This is not a hypothetical issue. Most of us here have become familiar with what many in this House might regard as consistently low rates of inflation, but who knows what is to come, with the unwinding of quantitative easing and other pressures on the economy? How do we know that the Government, when faced with a significantly higher rate of inflation than we have experienced in the last 25 years, will not decide that this too is atypical?”
Labour peer Lord (Prem) Sikka warned “At around 25% of average earnings, the UK state pension is already the worst in the industrialised world. It is the main or only source of income for the majority of retirees, and their lives will be even harder, especially those of women.
“Women never got pension equality: the retirement age was increased but their pension was never equalised with that of men. Thousands will die this winter because people will have to make the harsh choice between eating and heating, and the first statistics will be emerging fairly soon. Our retirees are being hammered from every corner, whether it is on pensions or winter fuel payments, which are unchanged since 2011, or the Christmas bonus, which is unchanged since 1972, or the loss of the free TV licence for the over-75s.”
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Stoneham of Oxford, also expressed concern about the future:
“We are concerned that pensioners will not be protected from the effects of the economic pressures now coming from inflation. The Governor of the Bank of England is very uneasy about the situation and we want to know whether the Government are prepared to keep an open mind and look particularly at the case of the poorest pensioners as time goes on in the next few months, when these pressures will come to a head.”
Lord Desai, a crossbench peer, insisted that government having broken the triple lock could now always use the lowest amount to put pensions up every year.
Lord (Jeff) Rooker defended the Lords raising the issue;” With ignorant journalists in the media calling for the abolition of your Lordships’ House, this issue shows, above all, that we will always be an irritant to the Government, whatever party is in power. ”
Labour Baroness Sherlock warned: Tthis short Bill is a mistake. It steps away from the earnings link and, in walking away from their manifesto commitment for the third time, the Government are breaking trust with the electorate. Why are they so determined to do it? Ministers tell us that it is for one year only. Great, but I worry that their refusal to be creative in finding a way to deal with the fallout from the pandemic raises fears that they really are planning to walk away from this longer term.
“My noble friend Lord Rooker is, as always, right. We have done what we can. We have asked the elected House to think again. The Government whipped their people to say that they did not want to do so. I think they are wrong. Pensioners will pay the price for this and they will not likely forget this breach of trust. I hope the Government think it was worth it.”
Conservative DWP minister Baroness Stedman- Scott insisted the change was for one year only and criticised Lord Sikka for saying the UK had the worst level of state pension in the industrialised West.
Pensioners are going to get very angry if they do not have enough money to heat and eat this winter and not be able to keep up with inflation next year. Could this be the issue that ends the Conservative’s long period of popularity? By being silent and not even considering that pensioners are worthy of an explanation could be the issue that kills support for the party among the elderly.
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This will def be beginning of end of Conservative Gov.they ssy we are living longer so now they are trying to kill us by denying us the badic necessities of life because we dont hsve emough money to pay for them.
So concerned but they still won’t pay a decent pension! Women hit again and again! I am disgusted that nobody cares . All my life I’ve worked like many others but no pension came with my job , no lucrative expenses either and my private pension pays £146 a month and my state pension I waited years for – this country is a disgrace !
Why are people surprised at what the government have done with the triple lock, I’m not as far as I am concerned Boris Johnson and his cronies think they can do whatever they like when it comes to pensioners they robbed the Waspi 50’s women now they are doing it in many ways to the pensioners in general. I hope when it comes to the next general election those of us still alive remember who not to vote for in 2024. There just a bunch of hypocrites on the 11 November laying wreaths to remember the dead when there incapable and heartless when it comes to pensioners who have fought in wars, worked all their lives and are still living.
Pensioners are seen as an easy target by this Conservative Government. As a WASPI women I have been robbed of 6 years pension but was promised a good state pension with a triple lock. Another broken promise! I know who I won’t be voting for in the next General Election? I do hope all pensioners will do the same with their vote so that the Government can see what it has cost them! It was all about the money!!! They have saved £5.1bn in a year or £30.5bn over the next 5 years
Seems to me that one or another pensioners have always paid the price. It was under Labour that increasing the pension age was first enacted. Promptly followed by the Tory/Lib Coalition jumping on the bandwagon. Then Teresa May who did , well basically nothing, followed by Boris and his bunch who took the rip off of pensioners to a whole new level. On top of that you have the 1950’s Women who can’t have their pensions at all because the bloody Tories have spent it!!
When you take into account all of the above, having an election is neither here nor there because there is nobody I would entrust my vote to.