David Cameron pledges to 'protect' state pension


David Cameron: "I want people to know that they can have dignity and security in their old age"

The state pension will continue to rise by at least 2.5% a year until 2020 if the Conservatives win the next election, David Cameron has said.

The PM pledged to keep the "triple lock" system, which ensures the state pension goes up by whichever is higher - inflation, wages or 2.5%.

He said it was "fair" to prioritise pensions even at a time when benefits for younger people were being slashed.

Labour said it supported the triple lock "in principle".

'Dignity and security'

Mr Cameron has described the "triple lock" announcement as the "first plank" of the Conservative general election manifesto.

But in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, he rejected suggestions it was a purely political move aimed at attracting older voters back to the Tory fold.


All politicians know there are votes in appealing to the older generation.

That is why Labour and the Lib Dems are unlikely to oppose David Cameron's state pension "guarantee" despite concerns it will increase the transfer of wealth in the UK from young to old.

But Mr Cameron may have a particular set of more mature voters in mind with his "triple lock" announcement.

A new poll by Lord Ashcroft suggests Tory voters are deserting the party for UKIP in even greater numbers than previously thought.

Research last year by YouGov suggested UKIP draws the majority of its support from older people - far more so than the traditional "big three" parties.

This is one way for Mr Cameron to tempt them back to the fold without getting involved in potentially bruising rows with Nigel Farage about immigration and the EU.

"It's a choice based on values, based on my values." he told Andrew Marr.

"I want people when they reach retirement to know that they can have dignity and security in their old age.

"People who have worked hard, who have done the right thing, who have provided for their families, they should then know they will get a decent state pension and they don't have to worry about it lagging behind prices or earnings and I think that's the right choice for the country."

He said the government also had to do more to help young people such as increasing the number of apprenticeships.

He refused to drawn on whether the Conservatives would cut back on pensioner benefits such as the winter fuel payment, free bus passes and television licences for the over 75s.

The Lib Dems and Labour have both supported the pensions "triple lock" in principle but have made no commitment about whether they would keep it after the next election.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said: "We will set out our plans in the manifesto for all of our tax and spending proposals.

"That's the right time to do it but nobody should be in any doubt about my commitment to the triple-lock on pensions."

Asked whether the triple lock would be included in any welfare cap, he said: "In the short term we've said they're not part of the social security cap. Obviously in the longer term we have to keep an eye on these things, the long term forecasts for pensions."

'Gravy first'

Mr Miliband said he was more concerned about David Cameron's hint, in an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, that he was hoping to be able to offer tax cuts as the economy improved and left open the door to a further reduction in the top rate of income tax.

Ed Miliband: "Nobody should be in any doubt about my commitment to the triple-lock on pensions"

"So he wants further tax cuts for the richest in our society at a time when ordinary families are facing a cost of living crisis," added Mr Miliband.

Former Labour minister and long-standing poverty campaigner Frank Field warned there would have to be tax increases to pay for any "triple-lock" pledge and asked why "yet again pensioners should be exempt when everybody else is being called on, quite rightly, to make sacrifices".

He told the BBC News Channel: "Younger families, with children, who are hungry deserve a similar amount of dignity, particularly if they are working.

"If you are promising one group - a group that is more certain to vote - that they will get the gravy first, you are saying to others there is less for you... and somebody is going to have to pay the taxes to foot that bill."

The triple lock was introduced by the coalition and means many pensions have risen by about £15 per week since 2010.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement that the state pension age would increase to 68 in the mid-2030s and to 69 in the late 2040s.

It will rise to 66 by 2020 and to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

Mr Cameron has previously faced criticism - including from senior Conservative cabinet members - for sticking to a 2010 election promise not to cut benefits for the elderly.

But Paul Green from Saga, which specialises in products and services for the over-50s, said: "David Cameron's commitment to the triple lock for the state pension will be warmly welcomed by British pensioners, giving them confidence that their lifetime of work will be properly valued by society."

The triple lock has already helped protect pensioners' incomes at a time when earnings growth has been low.

As a result, the basic state pension will be about £440 a year higher from next April than it would have been if it had risen in line with average earnings since 2011-12.

The triple lock meant the basic state pension rose by 5.2% in 2012, or £5.30 a week - the largest cash rise ever seen.

In April 2013, it rose by £2.70 to £110.15 a week - a rise of 2.5%, which was higher than either earnings or inflation.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 457.

    Same old harping from the left about "the hardworking hard done by Brits" and conspiring threats to the NHS. The truth is, there aren't enough Brits willing to do any hardworking and the sacred cow NHS is the most dysfunctional institution on the planet. If I hear anyone more say "free at the point of treatment" I will remind them how much I b****** pay for it. Pensions are a safety net. No more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 456.

    Any 'promise' not honestly of equal partnership is fraudulent, a version of Ponzi scheme rendered 'affordable' only by knowledge of power to take from others, or to default, or to devalue the currency for all.

    Whether in naivety or calculation, neglect of Keynesian rigour perhaps forgivable in the post-war scrambles for votes, our 'free press' committed to one or other version of fraud.

    But now?

  • rate this

    Comment number 455.

    I agree. That's why we've got the miserable rich-loving government that's currently ruining (sic) the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 454.

    I worked for 50 years. Paid tax and NI all the time. I have paid for my pension. Pensions should always be inflation proof.
    I clearly remember the austerity years post WW2 and learned experience & from my parents how to 'make do' & survive with little spare cash. This helps my retirement/savings. Shame our younger generation (the spend now/moan that they are hard up generation) can't do the same.

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    The younger generation need jobs to pay for our pensions first.

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    The UK pension system is not welfare; its based on payments made over ones working life and is contribution based and assessed. People who have paid in money all their working years are collecting a small pension when they can no longer work - what could be fairer. Peter G is so wrong!

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    Is this the sort of thing David Cameron would have discussed with Rebekah Brooks when they were out horse riding together? And what did the Police horse think?

    Just wondered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    9 Minutes ago

    We all need to face facts - this country has one of the biggest debt to GDP ratios in the world


    This country also has one of the most inept governments in the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    peterg . seems my taxes paid for your education. what a waste of my taxes that was.

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    This is nothing new & how was there any doubt in the matter? The triple pension lock was not invented by Conservatives. Cameron is simply climbing on back of much earlier policy. Doing nothing himself?

    This is Tories turning on frightners, suggesting they are the only ones to protect pensions? A claim which is blatantly untrue.

    The Tories are slashing pensions for next generations. That is fact!

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    What do you think I've been doing for the last 50 years? That's right, paying the pensions of those older than me. Now it will be your turn to do the same, thats the way this Ponzi scheme works. I started work when I was 15 years and 3 weeks old, I'll bet you were somewhat older so I've worked 50 years, when you are 69 will you have also?

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    The Tory party gives the masses just enough crumbs off their table to stop us causing revolution whilst they asset strip every area of British life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    @251. Nonsense. I am practically at pensionable age and I'm fully aware that your generation and mine screwed things up for those to come and to crow about all the "hard work" you've done as being some reason to be rewarded more than everyone else in retirement is appalling. You got lucky is all. All in it together? Yeah, right. Not all "old codger" are as selfish as you are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    We need delivery - not more excuses / more words / more promises / focusing on the wrong priorities / protecting vested interests etc etc

    Now even stopping Child Benefit payments to migrants with offshore dependants apparently REQUIRES EU approval (sic).

    No wonder they are queueing round the block to get in!

  • Comment number 443.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    Nice to know we are all in this together Dave when you have a big fat guaranteed public paid for, safe as anything parliamentary pension to spend and not a public pension which you increase with one hand and take away much more with the other. Forgive me for being cynical but you are a proven liar when campaigning for the last election and a leopard with his spots....

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    I think it is high time that politicians actually spell out the detail as to how a policy will be implemented and how it will actually work before coming to the electorate with it. It`s cheap and a tact that no longer works with the average voter. Wheres the detail PM? why open your mouth without it? Disgraceful.

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    What exactly is he 'protecting it against'? The brutal cost of living which wipes it out?

    Did they ask the PM this question?

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    It is not possible to live on a state pension unless you have corporation housing with rent paid, council tax paid etc. Anyone who bothered to provide for themselves with a house and a modest sum in the bank is supposed to pull the money out of a hat. If we all sell our houses to pay our taxes where will all the extra council housing come from to put us?

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    Odd how so many on here are claiming to be incapable of raising their own incomes and begrudge others around £2.50 a week which incidentally does not keep up with the inflation most pensioners face.
    Those complaining of no increases need to get up and do something for themselves just as so many of todays pensioners did just after the war and paid for the pensioners of their day.
    Such ignorance.


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