‘Made promise on pension triple lock!’ Stayt skewers Sunak ‘wont work, you’re wriggling!’
State Pension triple lock sees the sum rise each year by the highest of three components: prices, earnings or 2.5 percent. However, with millions getting back into work, wages data has been somewhat warped, with the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) suggesting payouts could rise by as much as eight percent from April 2022. This has led many to ask whether the policy is still feasible, and how much the Government would be able to afford.
The matter was raised today when the Chancellor made an appearance on BBC News, where he was asked about the potential for an increase.
Presenter Charlie Stayt referenced concerns about the state pension increase which is set to kick in from April 2021.
He drew in another decision being made by the Government – to remove the £20 temporary uplift to Universal Credit from the autumn.
Mr Stayt questioned: “Is it fair that the state pension could go up by up to eight percent, while you are taking away money from Universal Credit. Is it fair?”
READ MORE: ‘It is fair!’ Business Secretary says pension triple lock will remain
However, Mr Stayt did not appear to be satisfied by the answer provided by the Chancellor, and instead pushed for further detail to be provided.
He continued: “You made an election commitment to the pension triple lock. If you are holding that as you say you are, it is inevitable there will be a significant rise in the pension.
“I know that decision is to be made later, but you’ve seen the figures, you know the direction of travel here.
“You can’t have this both ways! You can’t stay committed to triple lock as you said you will and at the same time award people a different amount in their pension.
“What I’m hearing here is that you’re seeking wriggle room. You may well not be sticking to the triple lock.”
Mr Sunak appeared to refuse to be drawn into the debate any further, instead refuting the assertion made by Mr Stayt that he “knew the numbers”.
The Chancellor rallied back: “I don’t know the numbers yet, and we haven’t got to that point yet – it’s all speculation.
“I just don’t think we should be making policy on speculation, and we need to wait for the actual numbers to be finalised.
“Our approach to these things will be driven by fairness – to both pensioners and taxpayers. There is not much more I can add on this topic.
“Speculating further about it is a poor use of our time.”
If an eight percent rise to the state pension were to be enacted, the OBR has estimated it may cost the Government an extra £3billion.
It stated “unusual pandemic-related fluctuations in earnings growth” was the reason the pension could undergo a bumper increase.
The decision on the increase is set to be made by the Treasury later in the year, with pensioners informed about the matter ahead of time.
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