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Ros Altmann challenges Govt on state pension triple lock

Ros Altmann

Former pensions minister Ros Altmann has criticised the Government for avoiding difficult decisions on the sustainability of the state pension triple lock.

The Government has committed to increasing state pensions each year by either inflation, average earnings or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.

Altmann says keeping the triple lock beyond the agreed 2020 date does not make sense given the costs involved. She is arguing for a “double lock” instead, that is, maintaining increases to the state pension based on earnings or inflation but losing the 2.5 per cent benchmark.

She says: “I believe the triple lock has fulfilled its purpose and suggested, as pensions minister, that the next Parliament needs to secure those gains, but a triple lock is not necessary 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 they do not believe they need to engage in more serious and in-depth policymaking for the ageing population.

“Such totemic symbols may be politically convenient, but are not a sound substitute for carefully considered policy reform.”

Altmann adds the triple lock poses “long-term dangers” that risks “outlasting its purpose because politicians fear taking difficult decisions”.

A Number 10 spokeswoman told The Observer: “The manifesto contains a commitment to protect the triple lock. That commitment still stands.”

However the Department of Work and Pensions has refused to rule out a review of the policy.



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There are 7 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Have to tend to agree that this is unaffordable…. and unnecessary as pensioners seem to be the most protected element opf our society at present, financially.

  2. I wish Ros Altman every success because in times of low inflation pensioners do have a good deal. Less urgent though when inflation picks up as this then becomes a non-issue.

    While the economics and politics are clearly very different I recall when entering the pensions industry some 40 years ago it was clearly understood then, from basic demographics, that the State pension was not sustainable in it’s form at the time. It took 30+ years and a major economic meltdown, which gave ‘political cover’, before these changes were eventually made.

    Bon chance Ros.

  3. Brexit will be the excuse to get rid of the triple lock which I agree is unaffordable.

  4. The Treasury took no notice of her whilst she was Pensions Minister, which is a token role anyway, just a bit of PR window dressing. What likelihood can there be that it’ll do so now?

  5. The starting point for any sensible discussion is to consider how much pensioners on the basic state pension get. The rate in April 2016 was £119.30 per week, or £6,203.60 pa. Increasing this amount by 2.50% pa will take 23 years to reach the current personal income tax allowance. Given this rate of income, the comments by Altmann and anyone else who wants to restrict pensioners’ income by ditching the triple lock are disgraceful.

  6. Having given Ros Altmann the role of Pensions Minister, I blame David Cameron along with IDS and Osborne for gagging her and placing her in an impossible position especially knowing that she is not a politician. She was humiliated by them as a result and seen by the general public as being useless when in fact she knows more than the three of them put together about pensions.
    What with the WASPI campaign and Brexit, the worst of the state pension issues being the Frozen pension which did not get a look in but she can now be more vocal on all issues from her place in the House of Lords which is the only positive by Cameron who is now history.
    Maintaining the triple lock until 2020 seems to be reasonable to bring the pension up to something more in line with most other countries with similar pension schemes as long as the fraudulent freezing policy (section 20 on Pensions Act) is scrapped bearing in mind that the government are actually saving even more money overall from those pensioners who do not receive any benefits either which means that even if they pay the uprating to them all, the government gain about 3 times the cost of doing so.
    Cost of uprating = £580 million, gain from having no benefits cost = £2.2 billion
    Granting pension parity worldwide would encourage other pensioners to emigrate for even more savings. To not do so is a no-brainer !

  7. This from an earswhile head banana of Saga.
    It’s the Silver Surfers that vote, this would be political hot potato and will open the floodgates of further reneging of firm manefesto commitments.

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