Pensioner expresses concern for bill payers over payments
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The peer has tabled an amendment in tonight’s Social Security (Uprating of Benefits) Bill in a final attempt to save pensioners from losing out. At the last election, Conservatives pledged to maintain the triple lock, which is enshrined in law.
It guarantees pensions will rise each year by the rate of inflation, average wages, or 2.5 percent – whichever is highest.
But last month MPs voted to suspend the mechanism for a year in light of the pandemic.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey warned a “statistical anomaly” caused by the furlough scheme meant there would be a “spike in earnings” of as much as nine percent.
Lord Prem Sikka is hoping to use an amendment on a vote in the upper chamber tonight to maintain the triple lock.
He says there is enough money in the system to cover the cost of the policy.
The Labour peer said: “I am opposing the suspension of the triple-lock because it condemns current and future retirees to a life of misery.
“The average state pension of £8,000 is around 25 percent of average national wage, the lowest in the industrialised world.
“The proportion of retirees living in severe poverty is five times what it was in 1986.
“2.1 million pensioners live in poverty.
“1.3 million retirees are undernourished and 25,000 die each year due to cold weather.
“The maintenance of the triple lock enables retirees to meet the rising cost of food and energy.
“The Government’s election pledge can easily be met through the £37billion surplus in the National Insurance Fund account”.
Analysis indicates pensioners could be more than £200 a year worse off in 2022.
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The removal of the triple lock comes at the same time as a surge in energy prices and fears of a cost of living crisis.
Under the mechanism being used by the Government for next year, state pensions will rise by 3.1 percent.
However, by April 2022 inflation could be more than six percent.
Ahead of tonight’s vote, Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices, said: “If the Triple Lock was used for next April’s increases, the state pension would be up to £10 per week higher than that based on the September rate of inflation.
“This would just about protect pensioners from the anticipated rises in the cost of living.
“In effect £5billion is being stolen from pensioners’ pockets by the Government in not honouring its manifesto promise.
“Because the decision to suspend the Triple Lock has no democratic legitimacy, we hope that the Lords will step up and force the Government into a rethink.”
The vote in the Lords is expected at about 10pm tonight.
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