Second Tory manifesto pledge broken as pensions triple lock scrapped

7 September 2021, 14:59 | Updated: 7 September 2021, 15:39

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has confirmed that the so-called triple lock on state pensions is being scrapped for a year.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has confirmed that the so-called triple lock on state pensions is being scrapped for a year. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The government has suspended the pension “triple lock” for a year, citing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move makes it the second Conservative manifesto pledge which has been broken today after Boris Johnson earlier hiked taxes by 1.25% to pay for social care reforms.

Under the triple lock the state pension raises by 2.5 per cent, the rate of inflation, or the rate in increase of earnings – whichever is highest.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said: "As we have sought to protect lives, so we sought to protect livelihoods and to mitigate the worst impacts we introduced £407bn package of support including the furlough and self-employment schemes to support incomes.

Read more: PM announces 1.25% 'manifesto breaking' tax hike to fund social care reform

"Nevertheless last year we saw earnings fall by one percentage point. In response we legislated to set aside the earnings link allowing me to award an uprating of 2.5% as this was higher than inflation. If we had not done this state pension would have been frozen."

She told the Commons: "Tomorrow, I will introduce a Social Security Uprating and Benefits Bill for 2022-23 only.

"It will ensure the basic and new state pensions increase by 2.5% or in line with inflation which is expected to be the higher figure this year and as happened last year it will again set aside the earnings element for 2022-23 before being restored for the remainder of this Parliament."

Therese Coffey also told the Commons the pensions triple lock is being temporarily scrapped because of the impact of the Covid pandemic on jobs and earnings.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said: "As we have sought to protect lives, so we sought to protect livelihoods and to mitigate the worst impacts we introduced £407bn package of support including the furlough and self-employment schemes to support incomes.

"Nevertheless last year we saw earnings fall by one percentage point. In response we legislated to set aside the earnings link allowing me to award an uprating of 2.5% as this was higher than inflation. If we had not done this state pension would have been frozen."

She later added: "This year as restrictions have lifted - and we experienced an irregular statistical spike in earnings over the uprating review period - I am clear that another one-year adjustment is needed."