Rishi Sunak faces voters rebellion if he ditches triple lock

Pensions: Government has 'difficult decisions' to make says expert

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Their ultimatum came as more than 270,000 people backed our petition to save the commitment, in a stunning groundswell of public support.

Readers have also bombarded our newsroom demanding that Mr Sunak sticks to the party’s promise by confirming that pensioners will receive a rise in line with inflation.

The triple lock promises to increase the state pension by the highest of the previous September’s inflation – which was 10.1 per cent – or wage growth or 2.5 per cent.

Since he entered No 10 last week the PM has refused to guarantee a 10.1 per cent rise, despite previous pledges it would go ahead.

A Government spokesman said last night: “We recognise that pensioners are struggling with rising prices and this Government is determined to put the needs of the most vulnerable at the heart of everything we do.

“The Secretary of State is currently conducting his statutory annual review of benefits and state pensions, and the Chancellor will set out details in his Autumn Statement.

“We are continuing to provide direct payments of £1,200 to the most vulnerable, including £300 payments to pensioners to help them cover the increased cost of energy this winter.”

Support for our petition, organised with campaign group Silver Voices, continues to soar with two weeks still to go to the crunch Autumn Statement.

The highly anticipated fiscal event on November 17 will see Chancellor Jeremy Hunt reveal tax rises and spending cuts as the Government tries to fill a £50billion “black hole” in public finances.

Lord Foulkes, co-chair of the all-party Parliamentary Group on Ageing and Older People, said: “The next two weeks are vital in our campaign to make the Government honour their pledge to keep the triple lock.

“We need to make it clear to the PM and Chancellor that if they renege on their promise, many older people will face a bleak winter and they will never be forgiven. It will be unforgivable if oil companies are allowed to keep their growing and excessive profits while older people shiver in their homes.”

Inflation hit 10.1 per cent in September, the month used to work out next April’s rise.

Food inflation soared to a record 11.6 per cent last month with basics such as tea bags, milk and sugar showing significant rises.

According to the British Retail Consortium’s Nielsen Shop Price Index, fresh food prices are 13.3 per cent higher than they were in October 2021.

Dr Carole Easton, chief executive at the Centre for Ageing Better foundation, said: “More than a million pensioners already lie below the poverty line, many more are struggling just above.

“Ditching the triple lock would leave everyone worse off, whether they claim their state pension now or whether they will only start claiming it in 30 years time.

“We hope that the Prime Minister will reconsider, and restore security and stability to the hundreds of thousands of people for whom the state pension is a lifeline.” Dennis Reed, director at campaigners Silver Voices, called the depth of support from the public for the triple lock crusade “truly astonishing.

“Our target of 50,000 signatories has been achieved five times over. The success of our petition nails the lie put about by certain commentators and think-tanks that there is an intergenerational battle for resources.

“Everybody gets old eventually and if you put in the taxes all your working life then you deserve, and have paid for, a living state pension in retirement. Rishi Sunak must read the runes from our petition success and confirm the restoration of the triple lock for the rest of this Parliament, without delay.”

Jan Shortt, general secretary of campaigning group the National Pensioners Convention, said: “The NPC applauds the Daily Express for taking the issue of the reinstatement of the triple lock seriously and commends the petition.

“It is imperative that everyone signs this petition whether they are a pensioner or not. We all grow old – that is one certain thing in our lives. We are entitled to live with dignity and respect in our later years, yet that is so hard to achieve.

“The UK basic state pension is the most inadequate in the industrial world and pensioners have to rely on the Government to hand out means-tested pension credit to those older people who, because of societal attitudes in their younger years, have no provision for a pension. The triple lock is there to eradicate poverty among the older generation. It has failed in so many ways.

“There are 2.8 million older households in poverty as at October this year. A further 1.8 million will fall into poverty from October forward.

“Restoring the triple lock is affordable when you compare the cost to other Government initiatives.”

Ms Shortt added: “Looking after the poorest in society no matter their age is something this Government does not seem to grasp as their responsibility.”

Pensioners are no longer in line for another double-digit income rise after forecasted inflation next year slumped. If Mr Sunak honours the triple lock next year, the state pension will increase to £203.85 per week – £10,600 annually – according to calculations by wealth manager Quilter.

The basic state pension, paid to those who reached the state pension age before 2016, would grow to £156.20 per week, which is £8,122 per year.

That could fall in future years as the Bank of England said that it now expects inflation to cool to 7.9 per cent in autumn next year and fall further to around five per cent by the end of the year.

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