State Pension Triple Lock
5th August 2016
Since 2010, pensioner incomes have been boosted significantly: Leaving pensioners in poverty is unacceptable, yet until a few years ago that was the fate of too many or our country’s elderly people. In 2008, the Basic State Pension had sunk to the lowest level relative to average earnings for decades. However, since 2010 the incomes of the UK’s 13 million pensioners are now more than £10 a week higher than they would have been if the state pension had only been linked to average earnings. Indeed pensioner households are no more likely to be poor than other age groups in today’s Britain.
Triple lock will have fulfilled its purpose: I believe the triple lock will have fulfilled its purpose by 2020. As Pensions Minister, I suggested that the next Parliament should secure those gains, but a triple lock is not optimal for that any more. In fact, in some ways, having the triple lock has been used as an easy symbol for politicians to point at to claim they are looking after pensioners. This can sometimes mean politicians do not believe they need to engage in more serious and in-depth policymaking for the aging population. Such totemic symbols may be politically convenient, but are not a sound substitute for carefully considered policy reform.