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 697.

    This Government make me sick. Whilst they are hammering working class people, the disabled and the thousands of people they have caused to lose their jobs, they make out they are compassionate in protecting the elderly. This is complete s... and the ONLY reason they are doing it is to get their vote. It is pure political games and nothing else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 696.

    I don't trust any of the three main party leaders. The only chance we have left is UKIP, if they go back on their word the country is finished.

  • rate this

    Comment number 695.

    #686 more immigrants to pay tax and get tax credits and housing benefits and keep someone else on the dole..yes they sure are helping to pay the pension bill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 694.

    If NI is to pay for current pensioners; then why is it called insurance? State Fraud?

    noun: insurance; plural noun: insurances
    An arrangement by which a company or the state undertakes to provide a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a specified premium.

  • rate this

    Comment number 693.

    In a democracy it's impossible for a politician to do the right or sensible thing because another one will always outbid them Look at the shameless Salmond's antics.
    Most can save very little as pension because a) they don't earn enough,b) payroll taxes.
    Saving for what will be a small pension is pointless, the bloke next to you who didn't bother will get just as much as you when he retires.

  • rate this

    Comment number 692.

    All anyone needs to do to have the wool pulled from their eyes is to buy a few copies of "Private Eye".
    Only then will you see what a self-serving, corrupt, Machiavellian crowd of lying scum the entire population of politicians are. From town councilors all the way up tot the very top, in all of their shades or persuasions.
    Do that & you'll never be surprised again at the twisted ways they work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 691.

    Cameron forgot to mention the catch... i.e. they will keep raising the pensionable age until most people are dead before they can draw one.

    All our national insurance contributions have been poured into the government pot and spent.

    Theft pure and simple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 690.

    So what about all those who dont make any contribution to the pension pot!!!!! I assume I am now working all those extra years to protect their pensions gee thanks NOT

  • rate this

    Comment number 689.

    I predict that once we baby-boomers now in our early 60s reach the current age of our expensive parents (late 80s) and need care at home, care homes and hospitals, the system will be completely privatised, we won't have enough private insurance, but assisted suicide will be legal and suicide pills free on prescription. Wait for tirades against the aged, leading to viewing pensions as charity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 688.

    I have a full pension plus some earnings related - a whole £118 weekly, at age 66. Dignity? Cameron has cut pensions hugely by paying them later and later, while life expectancy is dropping and will continue to drop from the high it reached in 2012 as that was the generation before mine, those who went through the war. We are not swayed, we have children and grandchildren.

  • rate this

    Comment number 687.

    Oh dear. There is no "fund"; tax and NI go towards paying today's welfare benefits including the NHS, pensions and other benefits. So pensioners draw their state pensions because they've "paid-in" for decades? On that basis, people disabled fom birth shouldn't get anything because the've never "paid-in". Really? I despair.

  • rate this

    Comment number 686.

    The whole things a pyramid scheme, more immigrants to pay tax to help cover the pension bill,in 20,30,40yrs time we will need a population the size of china

  • rate this

    Comment number 685.

    If you think about all the damage Carmeron and his capitalist chums have done in the last few years, heat or eat, workers rights and wages etc, You have to ask yourself a very important question?

    Do you dare even think about them getting in again at the next election?

    Now that really is a scary thought!

  • rate this

    Comment number 684.

    I am about to turn 65 and get my pension but am unhappy at this. The government says the welfare budget has to be brought down- yet pensions are the largest slice of it. Mr Cameron's vote-buying 'pledge' will increase welfare spending; reductions that the government demands can thus only be paid for by more austerity to hit other sectors of the population and further reductions of services.

  • rate this

    Comment number 683.

    Does David Cameron know what 2.5% of the state pension actually is?. It wont even cover the cost of going to the shops on the bus when he removes bus passes! He lives in another world to the majority of us. I worked from 15 to retirement, I took 5 years off to bring my children up to school age. For doing that I get a reduced state pension so 2.5% is even less for women like me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 682.

    This man has as much chance of winning the next election as the Queen has of paying the bedroom tax.

  • rate this

    Comment number 681.

    Whoopy doos ! So Mr Cameron,, how do explain why I have to contribute in NI contributions for the next 12+ years having already paid the maximum some 5yrs ago ?

    Another vote catching ploy - mmmmmmm ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 680.

    Little tip Dave to get more money in to the coffers to pay a higher OAPs pension..Go after such people as Mr Green your Business Guru ..for the tax that they "Manipulate" like he did the other year by paying his Wife £2 billion pounds via Monaco..thus avoiding £278 million in UK tax..OH and get the Big Companies to pay what they owe..instead of bleeding the workers dry..AS IF !!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 679.

    659. Cynical Dave
    "So why do the long term unemployed get the same state pension as someone who worked since 16?"

    Dunno, Dave. But during a couple of spells of long term unemployment (months not years) and qualifying for dole I'm pretty sure I had my NI contributions paid for me as well. Maybe the same applies nowadays?

  • rate this

    Comment number 678.

    Does the man who says 7300 a year bad after life time of work, realise if he lives another 10 years add a 0, 20 years 00 and 30 years 000, thats 7,300,000 for sitting about doing nothing.....he paid nowhere near this amount in.


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