Autumn Statement: Hunt on pension triple lock
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Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement heralded a major victory for the Daily Express, as he announced that the Government will commit to keeping the state pension triple lock in place. Our newspaper has been campaigning for the Government to keep the triple lock since it was thrown into doubt when Mr Sunak took over as Prime Minister last month. The Daily Express’ petition called on the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to stick to the Government’s manifesto promise guaranteeing the pensions triple lock to give older people the security and dignity they deserve.
The petition – launched in tandem with Silver Voices, which campaigns for over 60s – was signed by more than 300,000 people.
The triple lock ensures that the state pension rises in line with whichever is highest of 2.5 percent, wages or inflation.
The Government promised to keep the triple lock in place as part of its 2019 manifesto.
In the leadup to the Autumn Statement, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak repeatedly refused to commit to the policy, leaving millions of pensioners in limbo and at risk of being left worse off amid the crippling cost of living crisis.
If the Government had scrapped the measure, around 12.5 million people who receive the state pension would have been faced with a real-terms cut in earnings as their payments would not rise in line with soaring inflation, which is currently at around 10 percent.
When asked if the Government regrets the weeks of anxiety and uncertainty caused for pensioners, a Downing Street Official said: “We got to the right decision in the end. In a fiscal statement, we do have to look at everything. Rishi Sunak’s priority is protecting the most vulnerable.”
The official described the decision to keep the triple lock in place as a “no brainer”.
The triple lock was suspended last year meaning pensioners received a 3.1 percent increase.
The benefit’s future was placed in jeopardy as the Government scrambled to fill a £60billion black public funding black hole.
While former Prime Minister Liz Truss committed to keeping the triple lock in place, fears of a U-turn on the issue began to grow when Mr Sunak took over as he refused to make the same commitment.
On the day after he became Prime Minister, Mr Sunak’s press secretary said he would “do what is right and compassionate” but would not commit to safeguarding the triple lock.
She added: “I’m not getting into speculation on what is going to happen.
“A lot of these things have to be discussed with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor I’m not going to speculate on what is and isn’t going to be in the Budget.
“I’m not going to comment on what decisions are going to be made.”
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