UK chancellor canvasses MPs on triple lock suspension

A strong hint that the Conservative party could soon abandon manifesto pledge to pensioners

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UK members of parliament (MPs) within the Conservative party have been asked whether they would support a suspension of the triple lock system, according to several media reports.

People within the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have been reportedly canvassing backbenchers to understand their stance on a potential temporary suspension to the pension uprating model.

The triple lock sets out that pensions will increase each year by the highest of inflation, average wages or 2.5%.

The suspension stems from the fact that, coming the next financial year, the DWP would need to increase state pension by as much as 8% based on current figures, which would cost around £3bn ($4bn, €3.4bn).

One Tory backbencher told The Daily Telegraph that the government was conducting a “straw poll” of Tory MPs to see if they would support such a measure. “It was very much an ‘if we do this, what’s your opinion’,” they said.

Another backbencher told the paper: “I’m really worried about getting rid of it because the Treasury seems to think that every pensioner lives in Surrey in a mansion.”

Other reports suggest that the Treasury will try to adjust the anomaly in the figures – which was caused by a sharp increase in average wages coming out from the third lockdown in the UK.

This could result in spreading the 8% increase over three years, meaning that pensions would grow by 3% instead – as the Office for National Statistics previously said this would have effectively been the growth rate had it not been for the effects of the pandemic.

A senior Conservative told The Times: “The Treasury will have to come up with a reasonable alternative because scrapping the triple lock will be a lot more controversial than hiking up national insurance.”

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