As the electioneering in the run-up to the 2017 election continues, the Conservative Party it is reported are considering keeping the state pension triple lock in their manifesto. The triple lock, which sees the state pension increase every year by the highest of prices, earnings or 2.5% was a policy brought in by the coalition government and is one that Labour have promised to continue, John McDonnell commenting recently when commenting on their Pensioner's Pledge Card:
"Today we launch our Pensioner's Pledge Card. Only a Labour Gov will stand up for pensioners and protect them throughout the next parliament."
However, many experts have been calling for the end to the triple lock, including former pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann who has proposed a double lock:
"The triple lock, in fact, contains inherent unfairness which will worsen in coming years as more younger pensioners receive the new State Pension. The triple lock does not actually protect many of the poorest and oldest pensioners because it does not cover all State Pension payments."
"It only applies to two bits of State Pension – the old Basic State Pension (up to around £120 a week) and the full new State Pension (up to around £160 a week, but only available to the youngest pensioners). Most importantly, it does not apply to the Pension Credit (which the poorest pensioners receive). A much fairer system would see the double lock protection extended to Pension Credit to help the oldest and poorest pensioners."
A recent report that was commissioned by the Conservative government also recommended that the triple lock should be dropped in order to ensure 'fiscal sustainability'. However, it seems that Theresa May is now considering ignoring the critics of the triple lock and keeping it in their manifesto to stop Labour poaching 'the grey vote' which has always largely been Tory. A source speaking to The Times said:
"It's a matter of pretty intense debate about whether to include it in the manifesto. On one hand, it is politically costly and doesn't actually save any cash. On the other, it's clearly a nonsense."
Final confirmation (or not) will be had when the Conservative's publish their election manifesto shortly.