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Ex-Blair adviser brands pension triple lock as ‘unaffordable and nuts’

Political adviser John McTernan says the triple lock is not sustainable at current growth levels.

Former prime minister Tony Blair’s political secretary John McTernan says the state pension triple lock is ”unaffordable” and must be scrapped.

Speaking at a Lansons Communications and Financial Services Forum pensions briefing in London last week, McTernan said the policy is “nuts”.

The triple lock, introduced by the coalition Government in 2010, guarantees pensions will rise by inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.

The Liberal Democrats had the policy in their 2010 manifesto but no political party has committed to keeping the triple lock beyond 2015.

Pensions minister Steve Webb says he want to see it continued while Labour and the Conservatives have signalled their support.

McTernan said: “The triple lock is nuts. It’s unaffordable and will not be sustainable. If we are looking at the possibility of Europe growing under 2 per cent over the next decade then there is very little space in Government spending.”

Speaking alongside McTernan, Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail said the triple lock is crucial to state pension reforms.

He said: “If you take the triple lock out of the equation than adequacy of pensions provision drops very rapidly. But every time I think about the triple lock I think it’s not going to last because it is going to get very expensive. “

Now: Pensions trustee chairman Nigel Waterson says: “One of the iron rules of politics is that it’s much more difficult to take something away once you have already given it to people. I don’t think the triple lock is going anywhere.”

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