Govt ‘committed’ to triple lock and reducing pensioner poverty

Written by Jack Gray

Pensions Minister Guy Opperman has reiterated the government’s commitment to the triple lock and reducing the level of poverty amongst pensioners.

In an answer to a written question, Opperman highlighted that the government plans to spend a total of £121.5bn on pensioner benefits in 2018/19, “including £97bn on the state pension for this year”.

Additionally, he emphasised that, between 2010 and 2018, the government will have increased the state pension by £1,450 a year.

He also stated: “We are committed to the triple lock for the remainder of this parliament, guaranteeing that up to the full amounts of the basic and new state pensions will rise by the highest of average earnings growth, price inflation, or 2.5 per cent and in 2018/19 the increase was 3 per cent.

A study by the Pensions Policy Institute in 2018 found that if the triple lock policy was to be removed, it could result in almost 3.5 million older people in poverty by 2050, in comparison to 2.8 million if the triple lock remains in place.

Despite the perceived positives, the government has recently announced changes to the Pension Credit system that could result in some older couples losing out on £7,000 per year in benefits.

Additionally, industry members have voiced their concerns over the impact that Brexit could have on UK pensioners, especially those living in the EU and receiving a state pension.

In January, former Pensions Minister, Baroness Ros Altmann said: “The risks to people's state pensions were never made clear. Failing to explain risks properly, before they make decisions which could impact their pensions, is against the rules, but somehow when it comes to Brexit, many rules of normal practice are overridden.

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