Pensioners could be £760million worse off next year if bonuses are stripped out of the wages figure used for the triple lock, according to new analysis.
The state pension is expected to rise by 8.5 per cent in April in line with average earnings figures confirmed this week.
But Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is considering whether to remove bonuses so the hike is reduced to 7.8 per cent.
Analysis by the Liberal Democrats estimates the move would amount to a £762million cut for retirees next year.
The party’s work and pensions spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said: “Pensioners need to be rewarded for their decades of contributing to our society. The triple lock must be maintained and pensioners must be given the money that they deserve after their years of service.”
PROTECT THE TRIPLE LOCK! SIGN OUR PETITION HERE
The analysis found that in 80 seats across the UK where Sir Ed Davey’s party came second to the Conservatives at the 2019 general election, pensioners could be £103million out of pocket if the triple lock increase is lowered to 7.8 per cent.
The Liberal Democrats, who are the only major party to commit to the policy ahead of next year’s election, plan to put the issue at the heart of their campaign in the so-called Blue Wall of Tory-held seats in southern England.
A Lib Dem source said: “If the Conservative Party follow through with yet another U-turn on the triple lock, the Blue Wall could crumble in much the same way that the traditional Labour heartlands fell at the last election.
“Our leaflets and our campaigners will be putting this issue front and centre.
“It will become a campaign-defining issue and one that we will not stop reminding people of.”
It comes as the Daily Express petition with the Silver Voices campaign group calling for the full triple lock increase in April 2024 is nearing 300,000 signatures.
Under the triple lock, the state pension usually rises each April by whichever is highest out of inflation, wages or 2.5 per cent.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released on Wednesday showed that Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation was at 6.7 per cent last month.
But wages have gone up at a higher rate, with a figure of 8.5 percent expected to be used to calculate the state pension rise.
Earlier this week, Downing Street refused to guarantee that the triple lock would be based on earnings including bonuses.
The state pension was uprated by inflation of 3.1 per cent rather than wages in 2022 due to concerns the Covid pandemic had distorted earnings growth.
According to the analysis, if payments are increased by 7.8 percent rather than 8.5 percent in 2024 pensioners could miss out on £7 billion overall due to both cuts.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Independent Age charity, said: “Any reduction in the state pension is a reduction the 2.1 million older people living in financial hardship today cannot afford.
“People already tell us they don’t have enough money to pay their bills. It would also disadvantage future generations who will have less to live on when they get older.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “The Government is committed to the triple lock.
“As is the usual process, the Secretary of State will conduct his statutory annual review of benefits and state pensions using the most recent data available.”
- Advert-free experience without interruptions.
- Rocket-fast speedy loading pages.
- Exclusive & Unlimited access to all our content.
Source: Read Full Article