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Triple lock: Therese Coffey commits to pension rise policy being honoured for the remainder of the Parliament

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Therese Coffey has committed to the pensions triple lock being honoured for the remainder of the Parliament.

The work and pensions secretary made the commitment during a Labour backbench business debate on the impact of the cost of living crisis on pensioners.

The announcement comes less than 48 hours before Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to reveal his spring statement to MPs in the Commons.

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Families in Blackpool are having to go days without meals as the cost of living crisis worsens – and bills are set to go up in a matter of weeks.

The pensions triple lock is the policy used to set how much the state pension rises each year.

The state pension is supposed to increase each year in line with whichever is highest out of CPI inflation, the average wage increase or 2.5%.

In the Conservative’s 2019 manifesto, Boris Johnson’s party committed to keeping the triple lock in place for the duration of this Parliament.

However, last September the policy was suspended amid concerns that due to the pandemic, it would have produced an unaffordable rise in the following year.

The move of many people off of furlough and back onto full pay led to a large rise in average earnings.

File photo dated 14/09/17 of a man withdrawing money from an ATM
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Rishi Sunak faces pressure to take action over Britain’s cost of living crisis when he delivers his spring statement on Wednesday.

Warnings inflation could rise to peak of 8.3%

The Resolution Foundation has predicted inflation could hit a peak next month of 8.3% – meaning a significant rise in pension sums.

Due to this, there had been some speculation that the policy could be suspended for another year.

However, speaking in the Commons, Ms Coffey clarified ahead of the spring statement that she does commit to the pensions triple lock being honoured for the remainder of the Parliament.

The work and pensions secretary was pressed on the policy by her Labour counterpart Jonathan Ashworth.

“Pensioner poverty is up, bills are up, and pensioners are facing a real terms cut to the state pension of over £300 this year,” he said.

“The Conservatives are failing to give them the security they deserve in retirement. The simple truth is pensioners simply can’t trust the Tories.”

He continued: “I asked the secretary of state at questions earlier – will she rule out breaking the triple lock for a second year in a row? She didn’t give that guarantee at the despatch box.”

Department for Work and Pensions
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Ms Coffey clarified ahead of the spring statement that she does commit to the pensions triple lock being honoured for the remainder of the Parliament.

Labour probe minister on cost of living crisis

Asking Ms Coffey once more to confirm that the triple lock will be honoured for the rest of this Parliament, the work and pensions secretary replied: “The honourable gentleman asked multiple questions, and I did answer at least one of his questions earlier. But the answer is yes, I do make that commitment.”

Read more: Conservatives face moment of acute political danger as voters feel effect of economic pessimism

Earlier today, Downing Street said it “can’t predict” inflation in future but insisted there was “no change” to the pensions triple lock commitment.

Asked if the previous promise to bring back the triple lock for the remainder of the Parliament, the prime minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “It does. We’ve made clear it was a temporary pause.

“I can’t and no one can predict what inflationary pressure will be, but certainly there’s no change to the commitment we have made.”

The announcement comes as Mr Sunak faces pressure to take action over Britain’s cost of living crisis when he delivers his spring statement on Wednesday.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak speaks at Conservative Party Spring Conference in Blackpool, Britain March 18, 2022. REUTERS/Phil Noble
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The announcement comes less than 48 hours before Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to reveal his spring statement to MPs in the Commons.

Increase in National Insurance threshold – reports

Reports suggest a 5p cut in fuel duty and an increase in the National Insurance threshold are on the cards as UK households face an income squeeze that is being exacerbated by the Ukraine war.

The chancellor will present the latest updates from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) on the state of the UK economy and public finances.

Read more: What to expect from the chancellor’s statement

Those forecasts are likely to show GDP growth and government borrowing are being buffeted by the impact of the war in Ukraine.

For households it is the impact on fuel prices and energy bills that is hurting most – leaving Mr Sunak facing calls to take concrete action.

Watch and follow the chancellor’s spring statement on Wednesday from 1230 on Sky News

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