State pension freeze: Lord Jones raises issue of ‘unfairness’
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The Treasury is currently grappling with how to honour its 2019 manifesto commitment amid the fallout from the pandemic. At the last election the Conservatives pledged to continue with the triple lock on state pensions that was first made Government policy under the 2010 coalition.
The policy sees state pensions rise each year by 2.5 percent, inflation, or the rise in average earnings, whichever is higher.
Ministers and Treasury officials fear the pandemic has significantly distorted the rise in average earnings.
Because of the number of people on furlough since March last year, it is feared average earnings could rise by as much as eight percent.
The rise would add more than £7billion to the cost of state pensions every year.
Mr Sunak is understood to be considering altering the formula to avoid the hefty payout.
But campaigners have warned the decision would leave already frustrated pensioners furious at the Conservatives.
“Lots of older Conservative voters who are in our membership are increasingly getting frustrated,” Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices which campaigns on issues affecting the over-65s, told Express.co.uk
“Members are writing to me saying ‘we need to do something about this’ because they feel the Conservative Government is not speaking for them anymore.
“They keep saying older people are being taken for granted.
“They think their votes are being taken for granted.”
The debate over the future of the state pension triple lock comes at the same time the BBC has ended its transition period on free TV licences.
Previously over-75s received a free licence, but the BBC scrapped the perk last year.
The Government has repeatedly criticised the broadcaster’s decision but has failed to take any action.
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Mr Reed said the Prime Minister’s failure to present a plan to tackle the soaring costs of social care, and Government proposals to raise the age of automatic free prescriptions were also leading to pent up anger.
He said: “There’s a quadruple-whammy. Free prescriptions, free TV licences, no social care plan, and now the triple lock.
“I notice a lot that it is beginning to irritate Conservative voters.”
In a warning to the Government, he added: “We saw in the Chesham and Amersham by-election result that traditional Tory voters feel ignored by the Government.
“It’s part of the same picture that is being drawn. It’s very dangerous for the Government.”
In June the Tories suffered a shock loss in the Chesham and Amersham constituency, with the Tory safe seat being won by the Liberal Democrats.
Traditional voters feeling ignored by Mr Johnson was seen to be one of the main reasons for the loss.
Silver Voices’ warning on the state pension triple lock comes after Express.co.uk revealed last week that Conservative MPs are willing to back Mr Sunak to temporarily break the manifesto pledge due to spiralling debt caused by the pandemic.
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