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Senior Tory MP: State pension triple-lock ‘difficult to justify’

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Senior Tory backbencher and former defence secretary Liam Fox has said the triple lock on the state pension is “difficult to explain” to young families.

In an interview with the Spectator, Fox questions his party’s spending commitments and warns the state pension promise will “come back as a very big cost, an unexpectedly large cost”.

He says: “I also look at young families who are in some cases finding it difficult to balance their budgets, finding it difficult to make ends meet and I wonder how we can justify to them why those who are retired automatically justify at least a 2.5 per cent rise in their pension every year.”

He adds: “We have made the commitments we’ve made, but I find it difficult to explain sometimes why these are set in stone and when you look at some of the relative spending, you will see that we are spending more on the elderly heating allowance this year than on GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 combined.”

All of the major parties backed the triple-lock – which ensures pension payments increase by the higher of 2.5 per cent, earnings or inflation – in the build up to the election.

In their manifesto, the Tories pledged to maintain the policy installed under former Liberal Democrat pensions minister Steve Webb until at least 2020.

But think-tanks and pension providers have questioned the affordability of the policy and the way the Government accounts for future payments on its balance sheet.

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Comments

There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Keeping the elderly warm is indeed a much greater priority than spying! So that’s a good equation I think.

  2. Well, Mr Fox, increase the minimum wage to at least £10 an hour so the rest of us don’t have to subsidise shyster employers via the tax credit system

  3. Any policy that leaves public spending hostage to fortune, in this case demographic change and inflation is difficult to justify. The one saving grace is that there is the safety valve of increasing the retirement age and number of qualifying years.

  4. Philip Milton 9th June 2015 at 9:33 am

    Have to admit that it is inequitable at the moment especially compared to ‘the rest of society’. Pensioners have been the most protected amongst us these last many years and whilst they cannot work to replace incomes and capital, am not sure a policy of constant increases above everyone else are warranted or fair.

  5. Andy Robertson-Fox 9th June 2015 at 9:38 am

    Trıple lock? ….Trıple Lock?….Oh, you mean the quadruple lock; the annual increase by either the increase in earnings, inflation, 2.5% or the usual 0% for 550,000 pensioners who are retired overseas who seem destined to continue to subsidise the UK economy.
    Mr Fox (no relatıon by the way!) seems, like succesıve governments, to want to ignore the frozen pensioner and the fact that each one saves the UK economy over £3,000 per annum and maintain the discrimination.

  6. John Blackmore 9th June 2015 at 10:13 am

    Perhaps successive governments have allowed for the cost of the very old returning to the UK for “free” healthcare and other benefits ?

  7. £115.95 per week, current level of State pension. Any more 2.5% pa rises and pensioners will bankrupt the economy!

  8. It’s extremely easy to justify. It buys millions of votes, from people who actually vote.

    Oh, he meant justify /morally/? Well that’s silly.

    And yes, out of all the alternative beneficiaries of government expenditure he could have compared with pensions – nurses, teachers, wind turbines, yadda yadda – it was odd that he begged us to think of the poor neglected snooping perverts.

  9. Andy Robertson-Fox 9th June 2015 at 12:43 pm

    John Blackmore – four points.
    As far as the frozen pensioner is concerned even on the occasional visit to the UK the expat is not entitled to medical care or treatment under the NHS except for an emergency visit to GP or to A&E. If a visit to either results in hospitalisation the cost is born by the patient. Treatment of pre existing conditions is not covered either.
    The majority of frozen pensioners – over 80% – live either in Australia or Canada – so first it is not like a quick trip on Eurostar, probably not financially viable and who, having made their own health insurance plans in the country in which they live, would wish to travel those distances for a comparable if not lower standard of health care?
    Third the saving of £3,700 to the UK is the net saving after allowing for the possible loss of the various taxes like income, VAT, community and the savings on NHS, bus passes, TV licences, WFA etc.
    Fourth point – of the 1.2 million pensioners living overseas 46% are frozen while 54% are on index linked pensions. There is no justification for this discrimination.

  10. We must protect our less financially well off Senior Citizens from the excesses of these government Johnnies.
    It does not sit well with me to see old people dying of the cold in bad weather.

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