The decision to temporarily suspend the triple lock for this financial year was borne out of necessity because to do otherwise would have resulted in an exceptional and irregular outcome.
Had all three elements of the triple lock been retained, the annual percentage increase in the state pension would have neared double-digits as ‘wage growth’ stood at 8% as of July 2021. This statistical anomaly was caused by the unique volatility of the economy during the last 12 months of the pandemic, and the impact of people returning in large numbers from furlough to their normal wages.
This rise would have come at a time when many working-age people have experienced pressures on their household incomes and at a considerable cost to the public finances given that there are 8.5 million people who are in receipt of the annual state pension.
When assessing commitments such as the triple lock, it is important that the Government considers fairness between generations. This not only means between pensioners and those in-work, but of future generations who will be saddled with the cost in years to come.
I am of course aware of the serious issue of pensioner poverty – although, thanks to past increases in both the state pension and pension credit there are 200,000 fewer pensioners in poverty today than a decade ago. However, I understand the pressure that comes with being on a fixed income and therefore think it is very important that pensions remain protected with a double-lock (the higher of 2.5% or inflation) which will enable pensioners to meet the cost of living.