'The triple lock is an unsustainable outrage... almost everybody in politics privately agrees," says Andrew Marr

12 September 2023, 18:30 | Updated: 12 September 2023, 18:32

'The triple lock is an unsustainable outrage,' says Andrew Marr
'The triple lock is an unsustainable outrage,' says Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC

By Danielle DeWolfe

Andrew Marr has tonight branded the so-called triple lock on pensions "an unsustainable outrage" - adding that "almost everybody in politics privately agrees".

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Speaking on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter said parties across the political spectrum are currently prioritising "party competitiveness" over "generational fairness" ahead of the impending General Election.

"The whole point of politics, I suppose, is to make life better," said Marr. "But sometimes politics itself - party competitiveness - makes a big problem bigger... and today we have an absolutely perfect example of that."

"It starts with pay. Average earnings, we learned today,  have risen by eight and a half percent in the last three months; and that means the state pension will rise above £220 a week next April. Great, you may think. Poor old pensioners.

"Think again," Marr continued, "because the mechanism which connects inflation, prices and earnings to the old age pension, the so-called triple lock, guarantees pensions for older people rising almost whatever happens to people anywhere else in the economy.

Explaining the way younger generations will be most adversely affected, Marr explains: "The people who are having the hardest time are frankly the younger generation, struggling with housing costs, a shortage of good well-paid jobs, and university loans. If there's money going, it should be going to them."

Read more: Tory parliamentary researcher accused of spying for China says he’s 'completely innocent'

Read more: Britain must engage with China despite spy row, government insists, as Tories split over whether Beijing poses 'threat'

Tonight with Andrew Marr monologue 12/09/23

Marr continues: "Now here's a little secret. Almost everybody in politics privately agrees with what I've said - they think the triple lock is an unsustainable outrage. The former Conservative leader William Hague said as much earlier today. But after the secret comes the problem.

"So far, the two major parties are too scared to do anything about it. An election is only a year away, perhaps less than that. They know older voters are likelier to vote than younger ones. Nobody wants to lose their support. 

"So even Angela Rayner who was up being all radical at the TUC conference in Liverpool today, would not say that Labour would ditch the triple lock. Or that they’d keep it.

"It's so scary serving politicians can barely talk about it, certainly not rationally," says Marr.

"William Hague, of course, is retired. So a small cheer for Rupert Harrison this evening, a prospective Tory candidate and member of the Chancellor’s economic council who said earlier today it's time for an independent review with cross party support, concluding - yes - after the next election."

"It would be better still if Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak could share a sneaky vape behind the bike sheds and agree right now that they’d both remove the triple lock on pensions from their manifestos. But they won't, I guess. They don't trust each other.

"And so, on this important question of generational fairness in tough times we have a Mexican standoff with no Mexicans. It isn't right, it isn't fair, and its politics at its worst."