There'll be 'a lot of discontent' if Sunak breaks pension triple lock in autumn statement, Tory MP warns

8 November 2022, 14:59 | Updated: 8 November 2022, 19:03

Sunak and Hunt are said to be against breaking promises on pensions and benefits
Sunak and Hunt are said to be against breaking promises on pensions and benefits. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

There will be "a lot of discontent" if Rishi Sunak breaks the pension triple lock in the Autumn Statement, Tory MP John Stevenson has warned.

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It comes as pensions and benefits are set to rise in line with inflation but families will face a "stealth" raid on inheritance tax.

Details sent to the Treasury watchdog ahead of the Autumn Statement are said to factor in the increases in a bid from Mr Sunak to ensure the budget is seen as "fair and compassionate".

Mr Stevenson told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr: "I personally would like to see the triple lock maintained – that was a commitment and therefore we should see pensions go up by inflation."

Final decisions are yet to be made but the PM and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are said to be against breaking promises on pensions and benefits, according to the Times.

It means deeper cuts are on the way in public spending elsewhere as well as bigger tax rises.

The threshold for inheritance tax is expected to be frozen again, despite steep increases in house prices in recent years, with the move set to raise around half a billion pounds a year.

Read more: Jeremy Hunt warned against 'alienating' voters over £10bn tax raid on pensions savings

Read more: Pensions and benefits to be cut? Fears grow after Rishi Sunak says 'difficult decisions' need to be made

Jeremy Hunt will deliver the autumn statement on November 17
Jeremy Hunt will deliver the autumn statement on November 17. Picture: Alamy

Speaking about the Autumn Statement at the weekend, Mr Sunak told the paper: "You will rightly be able to judge, is that [the autumn budget] a fair approach, is that a compassionate approach?

"I'm confident that people will feel that it is but I don’t want to pre-empt what the chancellor is going to say."

If the leader were to break the Tory pledge to increase benefits in line with inflation, he could face a significant backlash from MPs.

Several of them, including members of Mr Sunak’s Cabinet, spoke out against the move last month.

There have been concerns that instead increasing benefits in line with wages, would see real-terms cuts for millions, making the poorest in the country suffer most.

Sunak wants to ensure the budget is seen as "fair and compassionate".
Sunak wants to ensure the budget is seen as "fair and compassionate". Picture: Alamy

The PM would also be under fire if he backed down on the Tory pledge to keep the pension triple lock, which means state pensions increase in line with inflation, wages or by 2.5 per cent, depending on which is the highest.

Addressing the potential removal of the triple lock, Mr Stevenson added: "We do want to see the manifesto commitments of 2019 maintained…

"There'll be a lot of discontent on that because I think it’s recognised as being a fundamental part of our manifesto."

Keeping the triple lock in place will cost the government about £6 billion next year.

Meanwhile, increasing benefits in line with inflation will cost £5 billion.

Both pledges were on a list of measures sent to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the fiscal watchdog, over the weekend as plans are drawn up to plug the £50 billion black hole in Britain's finances.

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