The Runaway Train
The state-pension triple lock has featured in media debate in recent weeks with speculation as to whether or not the Government is genuinely committed to maintaining it or not. Some politicians of course are not reticent in putting forward arguments for its abolition.
I am a member of the cohort who, because of changes in Government policy, was denied her state pension at first 60, then with relatively short notice at 62 as well. Luckily, I am now growing in confidence that it might actually start to be paid when I attain 66; those only slightly younger than myself must wait until 67. Whether the pension, which we now have to work longer to earn in full, will be worth a realistic sum going forward, is of course dependent on the Government's commitment to the lock.
There are those who argue that the country cannot afford the increases it guarantees and whereby the state pension rises annually in line with inflation, average wage growth or 2.5% whichever is the greater. What they overlook, however, is the reason the triple lock was introduced in the first place is because the UK's state pension ranks amongst one of the least generous in Europe and has been reduced in real terms over a number of years. The lock was intended to ameliorate that situation.
Politicians of a country that we keep being told is amongst the richest in the world, certainly know how to squander funds when it suits them and deserve to be judged in part on how they treat the oldest in society after already suspending the increase once during the pandemic crisis.
For my former MP and one of the Tory party's elder statesman to refer to the lock as "a runaway train" is nothing short of incredulous. A percentage increase of a pittance is still a pittance and the commitment ought properly to be continued until the UK's state pension is at least in striking distance of those on mainland Europe.
The lock was introduced back in 2010 by David Cameron's government which almost simultaneously then increased still further the date to qualify for payment of the state pension. Give with one hand and take away with the other.
For the moment the Government has stated its intention to honour its manifesto pledge to maintain the lock but can we honestly believe a word it says anymore? Machiavellian to its core, promises given are "a necessity of the past; the word broken is a necessity of the present."(Image by Jan Blanke from Pixabay)